OLYMPICS LONDON 2012: Greene welcomes Blighty's temperamental weather
By Sportsbeat staff, London 2012
DAI Greene received the full force of some Great British hospitality at the Olympic Stadium yesterday – now he wants a bit of Blighty’s notorious weather to fire him to 2012 gold.
RAIN IS WELCOME: Dai Greene would suit the wet conditions as he competes in the 400m hurdles semi-finals
As the reigning world, European and Commonwealth 400m hurdles champion, Greene is one of the most instantly recognisable faces of the Great Britain athletics team at the Games.
And despite Jessica Ennis having been on the track just minutes before Greene, the Welshman got every bit as riotous a welcome as the Team GB golden girl.
The 26-year-old certainly did them justice, winning his heat at a canter despite being given a tricky draw in lane one – clocking 48.98 seconds.
That was enough for fourth quickest overall with Greene’s biggest rival for gold Puerto Rico’s Javier Culson leading the way on 48.33 seconds.
Greene’s race came in brilliant sunshine in the Olympic Stadium, however, there is inclement weather forecast for the latter rounds – much to Greene’s delight.
“I think if there is rain coming that will suit me,” said Greene – who spends his winters training in Bath.
“I have probably seen more of the sun at the holding camp in Portugal these last couple of weeks than I have done all year down in Bath.
“So I think I am well acclimatised to the wet weather.
“I normally go a bit slower in the heats because I know that I can kick if I need to and that is what I did.
“I ran well in my heat, and it’s job done now. I just have to concentrate a bit harder in the semi-finals and be a bit more on point.”
Greene’s display was well down on his personal best of 47.84 seconds set last month in Paris however tardy times certainly weren’t the trend of the morning at the Olympic Stadium.
The track has long been talked of as a quick one, with Ennis’ new British record in the 100m hurdles underlining those whispers.
Greene has come in from some criticism from his rivals in the US for winning last year’s World Championship in a slow time.
However he insists he’s in perfect shape to answer those critics and deliver on the biggest stage of all.
Greene will race the semi-final on tonight before contesting the final 24 hours later. As skipper of the British team it should be the Welshman that is inspiring his teammates however, he admitted it was the displays of Ennis shortly before he came out that fired him up.
“The atmosphere was fantastic. When I walked out the crowd started cheering before I had even run, I have never experienced that before,” he added.
“It’s fantastic. I walked out and as soon as they saw me they started cheering, and it was great to hear.
“They knew I was quicker than the other guys in my heat today, so I imagine the cheering will get stronger and stronger as the competition goes on.
“It’s an honour to be team captain. It’s been a great first day, with Jess [Ennis] running 12.54, and hopefully we can build on that tomorrow. It’s great for team morale.”
© Sportsbeat 2012