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Delhi Dreams: Dai Greene

Steffan Garerro
By Steffan Garrero
Analysis and comment with BBC Wales' midweek column

Delhi Dreams: Dai Greene

Dai Greene has come a long way in the past year.

Twelve months ago he was packing boxes in his rented house in Cardiff to move closer to his new training base in Bath.

Greene had just won his race at the European Team Championships and was only just beginning to be spoken about, in athletics circles, as a potential "next big thing".

"It's strange," he said that day in 2009. "John Inverdale and Michael Johnson are on television talking about my performances... Bizarre... It's nice, though!"

David Greene
Greene once scored against Real Madrid as a Swansea City youngster

Move on to 2010, and he has a European Championship gold medal in the drawer at home and is now firmly established as one of the major players on the global 400m hurdles scene.

Greene stops to sign autographs as we wait for the lift to reach the lobby of his Croydon hotel.

"It's all good fun," said the Llanelli man. "It's nice to be recognised for what I've done out in Barcelona.

"People remember you if you achieve at the major championships. Tonight's Diamond League meeting over at Crystal Palace is about giving something back in front of a British crowd."

The 24-year-old is getting used to another level of fame since he beat fellow Welshman Rhys Williams into second place in Barcelona in July.

When he is introduced to the crowd at Crystal Palace a huge grin comes across his face as a raucous, rain-soaked London public cheer wildly for the "newly crowned European 400m hurdles champion".

Less than 48 hours later, Greene is in a television studio along with fellow European champion Mo Farrar for the BBC's Something for the Weekend.

"It's the biggest television show I've done, it's a bit nerve wracking, but it's all part of the progression," said Greene.

If I want to be the best in the world then the television thing and the autograph signing just goes hand-in-hand with it."

Sitting in the same hotel drinking water ahead of the Crystal Palace race is Greene's training partner and silver medallist in Barcelona, Rhys Williams.

Dai Greene

GB duo claim 400m hurdles one-two

"Fair play to Dave he's getting the plaudits he deserves for winning a gold medal," confides the second-best Welsh hurdler.

"For me, the past two weeks have been about trying to get faster.

"No-one wants to be second best. Least of all to a fellow Brit, a fellow Welshman and your training partner."

You sense a keen rivalry between the two. Both bristle when the other is mentioned.

Watching them in training at Bath University you notice little conversation pass between the pair.

They run hard, side by side, then turn around and walk in opposite directions back to their start point.

For Greene it's a relationship which works on a professional level.

"It might be a bit dysfunctional for everyone else, but it clearly works," he said.

"Gold and silver are the evidence of that. We don't socialise away from the track, but why should that matter?"

Greene has a point; Teddy Sheringham and Andy Cole barely spoke to one another at Manchester United but played together for four years and helped the club to the treble in 1999.

We don't socialise away from the track, but why should that matter?

Dai Greene on Welsh rival Rhys Williams

Williams finishes fifth in London, while Greene comes third behind the world number one, Bershawn Jackson, and Javier Culson of Puerto Rico.

Greene pulls on a purple long-sleeved top as he stretches off after the race.

"I was faster than the other Commonwealth athletes, which, given how tired I am, is a bit of a surprise," he reasons.

In India he will try to join an elite group of Welsh athletes who have won European and Commonwealth gold in the same season.

Only Iwan Thomas, Colin Jackson and Lynn Davies have managed that feat.

He just needs to watch out for the other Taff coming up behind him...

*See the full Dai Greene interview on Sport Wales on BBC TWO Wales on Friday, 20 August at 1900 BST

see also
Sport Wales: The TV Programme
15 Mar 11 |  Wales
Commonwealth Team Wales 2010
15 Oct 10 |  Wales
US stars dominate in London races
14 Aug 10 |  Athletics
Greene eyes 'tougher' Delhi games
02 Aug 10 |  Athletics
GB pair win hurdles gold & silver
31 Jul 10 |  Athletics
Delhi Dreams: Geraint Thomas
13 Aug 10 |  Cycling
Delhi Dreams: Selby & Evans
06 Aug 10 |  Boxing
Country profile: India
31 Mar 11 |  Country profiles
Classic Sport Wales
26 Jul 10 |  Wales
Follow Sport Wales' tweets
04 Mar 10 |  Wales
Athletics on the BBC
21 Apr 11 |  Athletics
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales

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