Last Updated: July 10, 2012 7:46am
Dai Greene will lead Team GB's Olympic charge
Former Olympic medallist Fatima Whitbread believes Dai Greene is the perfect role model to lead Great Britain's athletics team at the London 2012 Games.
"I am certain that we will find a lot of ours stars picking up the gold medal but also those that are competing in the Games and not expected to pick up medals, they will take some that we didn't expect."
Fatima Whitbread Quotes of the week
The 400m hurdler, previously skippered the squad at the European Team Championships in Sweden in 2011, was named as captain of the Team GB athletics squad on Monday. The 26-year-old is one of Britain's best medal hopes on the track as reigning World and Commonwealth champion.
In the women's javelin Whitbread won bronze at the 1984 Olympics and silver in the 1988 Games. And with the experience of competing at successive Games, she believes Greene has the ideal character to inspire the squad, especially its youngest members.
"It's a great choice," she told Sky Sports News. "He is a great guy and one to inspire many others as well, especially the younger ones in the team. The older ones, the stars, I am guessing will come back with the medals. It is the younger ones who need good role models that they can aspire to."
Goldie Sayers is Britain's best hope in Whitbread's former discipline. But the 29-year-old faces fierce competition from the likes of reigning Olympic champion and world record holder Barbora Spotakova. Whitbread, though, still harbours the hope that if she qualifies for the final she could still sneak a medal on the biggest stage of all.
"She has been a hard worker for many years," Whitbread said. "It is always very hard for any athlete to step up and take the mantle of somebody who, like Tessa Sanderson or Fatima Whitbread, have been in the event for many years and put world javelin throwing on the map.
"She should make the final. Whether she throws far enough on the day to walk away with a medal, who knows? She is going to have tough opposition with the Czech and the Russians so fingers crossed for her. She is a great lass and I am hoping she at least gets into the final and gives herself a winning chance.
"Realistically, if you look at the performances I can't see her toppling those girls but who knows, it is on the day. None of us know. She has got a lot of talent but is up against some serious contenders."
Whitbread said that the athletes such as Sayers, who are not necessarily expected to win a medal, will inevitably raise their games due to the help of the home crowd and benefits of competing at a home Olympics.
"As an athlete you always want to have home ground and a home crowd," she said. "For our athletes this year, who are finalising their last bits of preparation, to know that you are going to walk into a stadium in London and that you have got a British support 100% behind you, it can only be more power to your elbow.
"I am certain that we will find a lot of ours stars picking up the gold medal but also those that are competing in the Games and not expected to pick up medals, they will take some that we didn't expect. They will raise their level of performance to quite a high standard."
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