South West Wales

Dai Greene: Ex-athlete 'expected' the hurdler to miss out

A former Olympic athlete has given a frank assessment of world champion Dai Greene missing out on a medal in the 400m hurdles on Monday.

Nigel Walker, who represented Great Britain at the 1984 LA Games in the 110m-high hurdles, doubted Greene would win after watching his performance in the semi-finals.

But Mr Walker, who is national director of the English Institute of Sport, said Greene should not feel like a failure.

Greene finished fourth in London.

He had qualified for Monday night's final after finishing as a faster loser.

Mr Walker told BBC Radio Wales said: "It's what I expected to be perfectly honest, especially after seeing his semi-final and how he struggled to make the final.

"When he won the world championship last year people were already hanging the gold medal around his neck and that's a very dangerous game to play.

"He ran 48.2 to win the title last year, ran brilliantly all season but what happens in Olympic year is that people find five, six, seven tenths more and Felix Sanchez is a classic example of that."

The Dominican Republic's Sanchez won the race in 47.64 seconds, matching his gold-winning time in Athens eight years ago.

Mr Walker added: "He's not a failure but in his own mind he will see it as failure."

Former head of sport at BBC Wales Mr Walker was not confident about Greene's chances for the next Olympics, Rio 2016.

"Well, you can never say it's not possible, but Dai will be 30 in four years time. He's going to have to improve if he's going to win it in four years time," he said.

Meanwhile, the landlord Greene's local pub says he might change its name in his honour.

Roland Cross, of the Harry Watkins pub in Llanelli - named after a 1904 rugby captain - said he was thinking of updating it for the new local hero.

"He's done fabulously well, we're still a little bit deflated but we're still very proud of him," Mr Cross said.

"We are still tempted to change the name of the pub to the Dai Greene.

"We're that proud of him."

American Michael Tinsley was second, with Puerto Rico's Javier Culson securing bronze.

"I gave it everything I had but was just too tired and narrowly missed out," Greene said after the race.

"I know me and Culson were miles ahead in the rankings but the guys really pulled something out."

Greene, the world champion, feared his Olympic dream was over on Saturday when he was fourth in his semi-final.

But his time was quick enough to allow him to progress to the final.

Mr Cross said: "Maybe he could have the freedom of Llanelli or something - I'm sure they could sort that out for him."

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