World Championships 2013: Injury curse leaves Dai Greene feeling blue but Perri Shakes-Drayton is ready to provide the fizz

Defending 400 metres world champion has every reason to feel glum

Luzhniki Stadium

For the last few days Dai Greene has said to himself, “If I didn’t have any bad luck, I’d have no luck at all”, in an effort to lift his spirits.

The defending 400 metres world champion has every reason to feel glum and, such has been the Welshman’s plight in recent weeks, he could be forgiven for thinking he is cursed. First, there was the calf tear that emerged after the trials for these World Championships and then on Friday he was laid low by a fever, having just hurdled for the first time since his injury.

Added to his double hernia surgery in the spring, it has been the equivalent of an athletics annus horribilis for the 2011 world champion.

He knew he would be off his best in yesterday’s opening round, and the reality was he was just that, struggling to fifth in his heat and only qualifying by right of being a fastest loser. In stark contrast, his British team-mate Perri Shakes-Drayton sailed into the semi-finals with the quickest time of all the 16 qualifiers.

It cements Shakes-Drayton’s credentials as a gold-medal contender although the form athlete of 2013, Zuzana Hejnova, had an easier heat and could, as a result, run comfortably within herself. In contrast to that pair, Greene’s hopes of gold are almost certainly gone now, a medal far- fetched and a place in the final a hard ask unless his powers of recovery really are superhuman.

Clearly, his energy levels are low following his illness and quite what he has in reserve for today’s semi-final and, should he get there, final, is unclear, even for the athlete himself, who cut a dishevelled figure at the side of the track afterwards.

“If I feel like this tomorrow then, realistically, I’ll have no chance of getting a medal,” was Greene’s frank assessment. “It’s been a nightmare few days to be honest so we were wondering if I’d be good enough to run today. We didn’t know what I was capable of. Obviously we’ve got the answer and it’s not the kind of answer we like. But hopefully I’ll be a bit better tomorrow. I’ve had this situation before when you do one race and then feel a lot better the next day as a result of it. Fingers crossed I can rest up enough and put in a better performance.”

All six of the British athletes in the heats of the 400m hurdles qualified for today’s semi-finals, Shakes-Drayton comfortably the standout. Her technique can never be described as particularly sleek but her flat speed allied to her competitive nature still makes her a formidable force.

After her injury setback before last year’s Olympics, which led to her missing the final, she was understandably anxious taking to the start line for her World Championship heat. “It was a relief,” she admitted. “I’m through without anything happening. I knew I was more than capable of making it through but it’s just pure relief.”

Katarina Johnson-Thompson has been tipped as the next Jessica Ennis-Hill of British athletics and that may well prove to be the case. But the 20-year-old from Liverpool is still some way off the major medals. She enjoyed a promising start on day one of competition as she came within a whisker of her personal best in the 100m hurdles but was disappointed after clearing just 1.83metres in the subsequent high jump. The major weakness currently is Johnson-Thompson’s throwing events and her shot put saw her stumble well down the order with a solitary legal throw of 11.52metres. She recovered with a personal best of 22.37sec in the 200m to end the day sixth overall with 3739 points, 173 behind leader Ganna Melnichenko, of Ukraine.

Of the other British contenders yesterday, Brett Morse failed to qualify for the discus final while Nigel Levine and Asha Philip bowed out in the semi-finals of the 400m and 100m respectively. Will Sharman took fifth place in the 110m hurdles.

Tuesday highlights

Morning session

6.30am BST Women’s heptathlon resumes with the long jump 8.10am Javelin 5.10pm 800m  (K Johnson-Thompson)

7.20am Men’s 5,000m heats  (M Farah)

Evening Session

4.05pm Women’s 400m hurdles semi-final (P Shakes-Drayton,  E Child, M Beesley)

4.40pm Men’s 400m hurdles  semi-final (D Greene, R Williams)

5.40pm Women’s 1500m semi-final (H England)

6.10pm Men’s 800m final (A Osagie)

6.25pm Women’s 3,000m  steeplechase final (E McColgan)

TV BBC/Eurosport

Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
News
news
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
tvChristmas special reviewed
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketing Controller (Financial Services)

£70000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketi...

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all