Dai Greene's talked the talk, can he and his team walk the walk for Great Britain?

 

Charles and Dai were packing their bags on the Algarve yesterday, getting ready to fly to London today. On Sunday night they were in the south-east corner of Portugal, rallying the troops as team leader and captain of the British Olympic track and field squad.

While the Games got into full swing back home, Charles van Commenee, the head coach, and Dai Greene, the captain, joined forces to give the traditional pre-championship address to the squad as they completed their preparations for the athletics programme, which opens in the Olympic Stadium on Friday.

"Our journey together has been hard and that is why you are such a success by being here," Van Commenee said. "No one in this room has had an easy journey."

Least of all Greene, whose typically witty, self-deprecating speech included making light of the hardships he endured early in his career as a 400m hurdler because he was an epilepsy sufferer at the time. He spoke of the difficulty he had in making training on time because he was not allowed to drive. The daily journey from Llanelli to Bath involved moped and train.

"I didn't mention it because I was looking for a tear or anything," Greene said. "I don't see it as I deserve a medal for it or anything. I was just trying to be honest and positive."

Greene had an epileptic seizure when he was in Gothenburg in 2006 on his senior debut for the Great Britain at the European Championships. Thankfully, he has not suffered one for some time.

At 26, Greene has won world, European and Commonwealth gold as a 400m hurdler. He heads for London with high expectation on his shoulders – as do several members of a largely in-form home track and field team.

It is the kind of pressure that could leave some liable to combustion. "Some people might," Greene said. "I would say it would have a positive effect on 90 per cent of people and raise their game. And 10 per cent might be negatively affected by it. I would happily take those percentages any day."

In the World Championship final in Daegu last summer Greene produced a grandstand finish to beat Javier Culson but the Swansea Harrier heads into Friday morning's heats without a win against his Puerto Rican rival this summer. "I would have liked to have beaten him," he confessed, "but I certainly got very close to him in Paris.

"I would have liked to have run under 48sec last year going into Daegu but I didn't, so there are always things you want in an ideal situation. I would rather have not had a knee operation at the end of last year as well, so I don't tend to think of things that way.

"I certainly feel as if I'm moving in the right direction. I am faster and stronger than I was three or four weeks ago. I'm very, very confident. I've done as much as I possibly can to get myself in the best shape.

"Culson has been at a set level all year. I have a lot of respect for him, but three races in four days is a bit different to a one-off in a Grand Prix."

Especially with an 80,000 home crowd roaring you on down the home straight. "I see the crowd as a massive positive for me, "Greene, a notoriously fast finisher, said. "I think people understand how I run my race and it makes a great race for neutrals. Culson is the fastest over the first five hurdles and I'm fastest over the last five. It's a good balance."

Running his mouth off: Greene's speech

"When Charles called me I thought it was bad news. Then, when he asked me to be captain, I thought Charles had picked me because I was like him… handsome, with charisma, and I also can be hard work."

"Set the bar high. Don't be content with making the team. Don't look back in ten or 20 years and think you wish you'd done things differently. Aim for your own gold medal, whatever that may be. "

"Think of Steph Twell [who failed to make the team] when you get on the start line. She is a talented and lovely girl. She wore a 2012 pin every day since we won the bid to inspire her. Think about how she would give anything to be in your shoes."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea