Welsh medal hope Dai Greene crashes out in semi-finals

FIFTH: Wales star Dai Greene failed to make the final of the 400m hurdles

FIFTH: Wales star Dai Greene failed to make the final of the 400m hurdles

First published in Sport

REIGNING Commonwealth Games champion Dai Greene revealed his disappointment at relinquishing his 400m hurdles crown after bowing out in the semi-final.

Greene, who told the Argus last week that he was not in medal-winning form, went in the final heat knowing either finishing in the top two or placing in the four and running below 49.97 secs would secure a place in Thursday’s final at Hampden Park.

But the injuries over the last few years took their toll as Greene faltered in only his second race in a year before finishing fifth in 50.36secs, more than two seconds slower than his personal best.

“It was disappointing not to reach the final," said Greene, who has had three hernia operations in the last 15 months.

“I had a good lane draw but I have not had a lot of preparation and I paid for it at the end.

“I lacked the specific endurance hurdling and it showed in the final straight.

“I had nothing left and the guys left me and I could not respond.

“I have not done a lot of racing so I was not sure how I would respond and it was like a voyage of discovery.

“I am not too distraught because at one point I did not think I would be here.

“My season had not materialise at how I wanted it to be.

“It was just fantastic out there in the stadium.

“I don’t like losing or finishing down the field.

“But I know I have not done the training to become Commonwealth champion which takes months.

“I knew I was not in that sort of shape but I was not going to pass up the opportunity of wearing the Welsh vest and experiencing the crowd.

“You have a short shelf life for an athlete so when you get chances you have to take them.

“I was always going to be out here regardless of my fitness.”

Greene has also indicated he is likely to miss the European Championships in Zurich next months after failing the run the qualification standard of 49.80secs.

“I did not get the A standard and I am off that so I don’t think there will be any races,” said Greene.

“It’s likely to be the end of it for me but it‘s too early to make a definitive decision.”

The Welsh Athletics squad, who have yet to win one of their four targeted medals, have been rocked by two failed doping tests for Gareth Warburton and Rhys Williams.

Greene also revealed the holding camp in Portugal, which he did not attend as he prepared in Bath and Scotland, was disrupted by a sudden serious illness to one of the physiotherapists.

But Team Wales have responded by reaching their medal target of 27 within six days.

“There have been a few issues and one of the support staff were also taken ill at the holding camp,” said Greene.

“But Team Wales have done really well and it has probably brought the guys closer together as a unit.

“The morale is good and the negativity is not being talked about around the camp.

“It is about how Team Wales have exceeded our medal target and gone past how we did in Delhi.

“People in track and field want to do well.

“I am just sad I can’t continue the momentum other people have created.”

Greene also spoke once more about the situation facing good friend Warburton and fierce rival Williams after the Welsh duo were banned and missed the Commonwealth Games as they prepare to answer their doping charges.

“I don’t know anyone personally who has been involved in anything like this and I was shocked," added the 28-year-old.

“I know Gareth and Rhys are not deliberate cheaters and they must have been careless or misled slightly and that will come out eventually.

“I lived with Gareth for a few years and the running joke with him was that he lived off raisins and couscous because he could not afford anything else.

“I don’t think he is running a drugs ring in Cardiff and that’s the honest truth.

“If you look at him you would think he was the last person to take steroids.

“I have tried to have a laugh with him on the phone about it because I know I can and he is a strong character.

“While Rhys and I don’t get on, I know he is not the sort of person to cheat and I don’t think anyone in Welsh or British athletics who thinks they are trying to dope to get an advantage.

“It is unfortunate but as professional athletes we have to learn not take anything that’s not batch tested and that’s the way it “The timing was unfortunate but hopefully other people will learn from it.

“It’s difficult because the standard line is don’t take any supplements.

“But some are fine, some are batch tested and others are not.

“I would be intrigued to see if they were batch tested and we will find out more about that in the future.”

Greene accepts both athletes face a ban but believes they have already been punished.

“There is bound to be a punishment and there is no way you are going to get away with having steroids or whatever it was in their system,” said Greene.

“But they have already been punished severely because they have missed the Commonwealths and will be too old by the time the next one comes around to be in good shape.

“That’s a nasty knock and they will be affected next year probably. They will be punished but I'm sure they have not deliberately taken anything.”

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