Greene's eyes on prize
Welsh hurdling sensation on why Olympic title is within his reach
By Emma Bird. Last Updated: 21/03/12 10:32am
Dai Greene: The Olympic title is now the only one to elude the 400m hurdler who is going for gold in 2012.
"Focused, determined and hard-working." These three words are used by the man himself as well as those who know him, to describe 400 metres hurdling sensation Dai Greene.
The Bath-based athlete is currently aiming to claim the only title that eludes him in his event, the Olympic gold medal. The Commonwealth, European and World champion, coached by legend Malcolm Arnold, admits that the toughest aspect in the quest for Olympic glory is the gruelling winter training he must complete, despite the final event seeming a long way off.
"The tough times have made me a stronger person. "
Dai Greene Quotes of the week
The Welsh hopeful told Sky Sports: "The training I have been doing, endurance mainly, has been the hardest part.
"In the winter months, the Olympics are still a while away, even now, and you have to put the hard graft in at the moment. If you don't put the hard work in, it shows in the summer months. This is the hardest part, the behind the scenes elements that nobody gets to see. It is not very glamorous but you have to do it."
The 25-year-old, labelled by UK Athletics head coach Charles Van Comenee as 'the model athlete with the model attitude,' believes his disappointment in 2008 will spur him on to achieve even better things in 2012.
Greene suffered a testing season through injury and knew that he would only just about manage to make the team for the 2008 Beijing Olympics at best.
The Swansea Harrier added: "The tough times have made me a stronger person. I will not be lacking experience as I have been competing at the highest level for the past two years so I will not be daunted by the situation this year. I will use missing out on Beijing as motivation.
"I did well last year so the other guys need to make lots of improvements to challenge me at the top really. I am confident I will be running similar times to last year, so that should be enough given my past experiences. Obviously, if I'm running terribly then I will have to prove my worth, but I don't see that scenario presenting itself really."
Such a confident, gritty resolve seems to be the result of the tough love he is given by coach Arnold; with the hurdler acknowledging that the 71-year-old has made him a much stronger athlete, particularly in terms of endurance.
Greene said: "Malcolm is very professional, and doesn't say much or smother me in compliments and I very much like that. I guess his professional approach just rubs off on his athletes. One of his best assets is his man management."
Having first become involved with athletics whilst at university in Cardiff, Greene believes his whole life is now moulded in preparation for London this summer.
He added: "Everything is now leading to London as opposed to peaking at the trials; I am not too worried about the whole qualification thing as I had a really good season last year.
"The Olympics is the biggest competition you can do as an athlete and to have it in your home country is even better. It is the opportunity of a lifetime really. I will see the home crowd as a positive and I hope the whole of Team GB do too. I am sure it will give me a lift when I am on the start line and I would like to think that even half a per cent would make a difference."
Greene will put his training to the test when the season starts and the Diamond League opens, where he will face his strongest Olympic competitors.
Likely to line up against his main American rivals as well as LJ van Zyl of South Africa and Puerto Rican star Javier Culson, Greene said: "It will be good to race against the guys I will face at the Olympics.
"It is always better to race in the top races, practicing what you are going to do when the Games come round.
"Everything now is aimed towards getting that gold medal and I wouldn't say that if I didn't think it was possible. I am the best in the world now and so I should aim for the top. It would be foolish to aim for something less than that."