Dai Greene: Ex-world hurdles champion aims for one last Olympics

By Gareth GriffithsBBC Sport Wales
Dai Greene won the last of his British Championships titles in 2018
Dai Greene won the last of his British Championships titles in 2018

Ex world hurdles champion Dai Greene is unsure whether the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics will scupper his dream of reaching one last Games.

The Olympics have been put back to July 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Greene, who thinks he might have mild coronavirus symptoms, is waiting to see if the one-year delay affects his chances of competing in Japan.

"I am concerned whether or not I will reach a point in the next 16 months and my body gives up on me," said Greene.

"Or mentally I do not want it anymore. I don't think I will reach that point because mentally and physically I am strong at the moment but who knows?

"I have spoken to many ex-athletes and they all say you know when it is time."

Greene will be 35 by the time the rescheduled Olympics take place. It will also be 10 years in 2021 since he won the 400m hurdles world title in South Korea.

The Llanelli hurdler had won European and Commonwealth golds in 2010 and finished fourth in the 2012 Olympics final in London.

Since then, he has not reached the heights on the global stage after being plagued by injury and illness but wants one last shot at the Olympics.

"I do not look at my age and think I am struggling, it is more whether my body can cope with the injuries," said Greene.

"The last 12-18 months I have been better than I have been for a long time. It is about maintaining now and rallying to go again."

Greene has a more immediate battle having been suffering with coronavirus symptoms.

"Last week my partner came home and she had a cough and a few of the tell-tale signs, then a week ago I picked something up but didn't think it was the virus until recently," said Greene.

"I feel really tired, have a bad headache. It may be the virus but it is not ruining me or sending me to hospital, I am just resting up at home.

"I'm better than I was the day before. I am one of the fortunate ones if I do have it but maybe it is case of a bad flu."

In 2011, Dai Greene was the European, Commonwealth and world 400m hurdles champion
In 2011, Dai Greene was the European, Commonwealth and world 400m hurdles champion

Greene also faces the prospect of trying to adapt his training during the lockdown after feeling confident about the 2020 season.

"I was in a good position in terms of health and fitness so I was ready for the season ahead so we have to reset," said Greene.

"We like to train hard and work hard, it is hard breaking that focus.

"When your biggest concern is whether the supermarkets are going to have what you need, you don't want to think about training.

"It isn't ideal. My coach has gone back to Sweden to see his family, my training group is scattered around and we are not allowed to see each other, so now every time I train, I train alone.

"I was meant to be in Florida for a training camp now but that got scuppered. I have a track near my house. I cannot train at my usual track in Loughborough because it is closed, so I am jumping over a fence to do my sessions.

"There are also no gyms open and I live on a farm so I am lifting heavy items like tractor tyres and logs to try to replicate the things I would do in the gym so I do not lose too much power and muscle."

Greene will also battle with financial issues with a £1,500 grant from Welsh Athletics normally supplemented by race fees, personal appearances and school talks which are all on hold.

"We earn our funds from racing in the summer so we do not have much chance to earn anything," he explained.

"The current conversation is that there will be races late in the summer but we will see.

"With athletics, because we compete as individuals we do not have a set wage coming in and very few athletes will be sponsored.

"I am sure many people around the country are experiencing this, it is not limited to nine to five jobs.

"I am not going to be the only person suffering."

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