OLYMPICS LONDON 2012: World champion Dai Greene stutters in 400m hurdles final
WORLD champion Dai Greene was left 'shocked' and 'stunned' after he edged into the Olympic final with a stuttering performance.
DISAPPOINTED: Dai Greene was slowest into the men's 400m hurdles final, meaning a nightmare lane draw. He claimed he was 'shocked' with his performance
Greene is looking to add to his world, European and Commonwealth Games titles but on the evidence of his semi-final performance that looks very unlikely.
He clocked a pedestrian 48.19 seconds to finish fourth in his semi, then waited anxiously before learning he had advanced as the second and last quickest non-automatic qualifier.
"I can't believe it, coming down the home straight I tried to catch them up. I can't believe it wasn't there and I'm just devastated," he said, after he had laid down on the track with his head in hands for several minutes.
"I thought I went off at a decent pace but I had nothing coming off the bend and didn't feel myself in the home straight. I'm just shocked."
Evergreen Felix Sanchez, the 2004 Olympic champion, qualified quickest in a season's best 47.76 secs while favourite, Puerto Rico's Javier Culson, and Americans Angelo Taylor and Michael Tinsley also looked sharp.
However, there was disappointment for Team GB's Jack Green and Rhys Williams who failed, perhaps as expected, to progress.
Green, who trains with the world champion, took a tumble after getting too close to a hurdle and admitted it was only his pride that hurt.
"I’m far too angry for anything to hurt right now apart from the fact that I haven’t even finished the semi-finals of the Olympics," he said.
Williams though had no excuses and claimed his fourth place finish, in a slow 49.63 seconds, was his own fault.
"It was set up for me tonight in the easiest of the semi-finals," he said.
"I gave it my all, it just wasn’t good enough and it pains me to say it. I’ve had a great time and my journey’s come to an end. I’m gutted."
Reigning Olympic champion Christine Ohuruogu competed in the first heat of the semi-finals as she sought to qualify for tomorrow night’s 400m final and managed to do so with ease.
Ohuruogu found herself in the same semi-final as fellow medal contender Sanya Richards-Ross, who she pipped to the post in Beijing, and was hoping to secure one of the two automatic qualification places.
And 28-year-old Ohuruogu ran a season’s best time of 50.22 secs as she finished second to Richards-Ross, with the American posting a time of 50.07 secs despite a notably relaxed finish.
Team GB's Shana Cox and Lee McConnell - making her third Games appearance - couldn't secure their place in the final alongside Ohuruogu as times of 52.28 secs and 52.24 secs respectively were not fast enough to progress.
Abi Oyepitan, seventh in the 200m at the 2004 Olympics, admitted her disappointment after finishing last in her 100m semi-final in 11.36 secs.
"I'm not happy with the race or the time, I got out of the blocks well but the last part of my race just wasn't great," she said.
"I've still got the 200m to come but I really wanted to be in that 100m final and I'm just really disappointed. I thought I could easily run these times but it wasn't meant to be."
© Sportsbeat 2012