Athletics: Team GB captain Dai Greene scrapes into 400 metres hurdles final


Team captain Dai Greene tonight scraped into the Olympic final of the
400 metres hurdles in a dramatic start to an evening expected to bring
the British team their first athletics medals.

World champion Greene lay on the track with his head in his hands after crossing the line fourth in the opening semi-final, with only the first two qualifying automatically and the next two fastest across all three semis also reaching Monday's final.

That meant an anxious wait for the 26-year-old Welshman to see if his time of 48.19 seconds would be good enough - a wait which ended when a massive roar from the 80,000-strong crowd confirmed he had enjoyed a lucky escape.

Speaking before he knew he had made the final, Greene said: "I can't believe it. I'm just devastated. I went off at a decent pace. I couldn't believe I wasn't closing them down (in the final straight). I'm just shocked.

"I just don't really know what went wrong. Second fastest loser is no way to perform if you are world champion in my mind. I feel like I've let everybody down. I should be able to do better than that - I know I'm better than that."

His training partner Jack Green had an even worse experience, the 20-year-old clattering into the third hurdle in the second semi-final and crashing to the track.

Green, who looked to have suffered an injury in the fall but was fit enough to get to his feet, pick up the offending barrier and slam it into the track, had tears in his eyes as he said: "It's a lack of experience in the event. I am absolutely distraught as you can see. I lost my balance, I was already going down and as you can see I now have bloody knees because that track's nice and hard and takes off the skin quite well."

European champion Rhys Williams also missed out after finishing fourth in the last semi-final in 49.63, while 2004 Olympic champion Felix Sanchez was the fastest qualifier in 47.76 - the quickest time in the world this year - ahead of previous world number one Javier Culson, who clocked 47.93.

Williams looked in contention until stumbling off the last hurdle and said: "I gave it everything and I am gutted I am not going to get another chance to go out there because the support has been great.

"I had a dreadful last hurdle and lost all my momentum. The Slovakian guy (Brent Larue) beat me and, with all due respect, that should not happen."

Abi Oyepitan, who had reached the 100m semi-finals as a fastest loser, then finished eighth in the first semi in a time of 11.36, with world champion Carmelita Jeter of the United States winning in 10.83.

But Britain's defending Olympic champion Christine Ohuruogu powered into the 400m final by running a season's best of 50.22 in her semi-final, while team-mates Shana Cox (52.58) and Lee McConnell (52.24) missed out after finishing seventh in the subsequent semis.

Ohuruogu did not speak to the media after the race but a disappointed Cox said of her own performance: "It was not the best of times, definitely not the way I would have wanted to go out. Now I just have to go back to the drawing board and work on a few things."

McConnell added: "I'm a bit disappointed with that. I had hoped for a better performance. It was tough out there and the girls went out quick and just pulled me out too fast. I need to try to push this disappointment aside and focus on the relay."

The first gold medal of the evening was won by 22-year-old Sandra Perkovic in the women's discus with a Croatian national record of 69.11m.

Perkovic took the lead in the second round with a throw of 68.11m and added exactly one more metre in the next for what proved to be the winning distance.

Russia's Darya Pishchalnikova claimed silver with a throw of 67.56m in the penultimate round, with China's Li Yanfeng winning bronze with 67.22m.

More to follow...


Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
Fans take a selfie with Ed Miliband in Kempston, near Bedford, on Tuesday
election 2015
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power