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."

Arts and Entertainment
Armstrong, left, and Bain's writing credits include Peep Show, Fresh Meat, and The Old Guys
TVThe pair have presented their view of 21st-century foibles in shows such as Peep Show and Fresh Meat
Arts and Entertainment
Keys to success: Andrew and Julian Lloyd Webber
arts + entsMrs Bach had too many kids to write the great man's music, says Julian Lloyd Webber
footballMan City manager would have loved to have signed Argentine
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Hand out press photograph/film still from the movie Mad Max Fury Road (Downloaded from the Warner Bro's media site/Jasin Boland/© 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)
films'You have to try everything and it’s all a process of elimination, but ultimately you find your path'
Arts and Entertainment
Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films

New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site on Friday


Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’

New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch at the premiere of The Imitation Game at the BFI London Film Festival
filmsKeira Knightley tried to miss The Imitation Game premiere to watch Bake Off
Enner Valencia
footballStriker has enjoyed a rapid rise to fame via winning the title with ‘The Blue Ballet’ in Ecuador
Arts and Entertainment
A top literary agent has compared online giant Amazon to Isis
arts + entsAndrew Wylie has pulled no punches in criticism of Amazon
Arts and Entertainment
Charlie Sheen said he would

Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Bryan Adams' heartstopping images of wounded British soldiers to go on show at Somerset House

Bryan Adams' images of wounded soldiers

Taken over the course of four years, Adams' portraits are an astonishing document of the aftermath of war
The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities