Greene: My rivals are running scared

12 June 2012 / 19:39

Dai Greene believes the memory of his victory at last year's World Championships in athletics will be playing on the minds of his rivals come this summer's Olympic 400 metres hurdles final.

The 26-year-old went into last year's competition in Daegu ranked sixth in the world but came from behind on the final straight in the final to take gold ahead of an illustrious field. The Welshman has run just twice this season, most recently finishing fourth at the Diamond League meeting in Oslo, a week after a stomach virus forced him to pull out of the Rome race.

Puerto Rico's Javier Culson - the man Greene edged out yards from the line in Daegu - won in a world-leading 47.92 seconds in the Norwegian capital and has run the fastest three times in the world this year.

Greene, who has fully recovered from the illness and is satisfied with how his Olympic preparations are progressing, has a best this year of 48.96secs, but he knows his reputation as a championship performer could give him a psychological edge over his rivals.

"They are going to watch my times drop down as we get closer and closer to the Games," Greene, who won the European and Commonwealth titles in 2010 but admitted last year he was "easy to dismiss" on the world stage, told Press Association Sport.

"They know I am going to get in better and better shape and they know I am going to be gearing everything toward the Olympics. They will see me as more of a threat and they certainly won't dismiss me before I go there because of my reputation from the last few years."

And it is that reputation as a man who saves his best for the big occasion which could have his competitors carrying niggling doubts. Culson, for example, thought he had won the gold last year only to see Greene pass him in the final strides and have to settle for his second successive World Championship silver.

"He picked up a silver in 2009 and I remember him being elated with that. He picked up a silver in Daegu and I remember seeing him with his head in his hands," added Greene, whose next race is the British Olympic trials in Birmingham the weekend after next. "It's difficult to go from picking up silvers all the time to being the guy who wins, it's not easy.

"Certainly he will have a lot of expectation from his home nation who don't have too many Olympians, so I guess it's going to be playing on his mind, 'maybe I can't get the gold, I've had a couple of silvers'. I know if he's in front of me he'll be looking over his shoulder wondering where I am come that final.

"If I had picked up a couple of silvers then I would certainly be thinking 'maybe I can't win' or if someone was coming past me in the last 30 metres I'd be thinking 'is this going to happen again'. It's going to play on your mind."