Write off Dai Greene at your peril, warns Jason Gardener

Former Olympic champion Jason Gardener insists that you write off 400m hurdler Dai Greene at your peril

Sportsbeat
By Sportsbeat
dai greene
Former Olympic champion Jason Gardener Photo: Handout

Dai Greene’s disappointing London 2012 might still be fresh in the memory but former Olympic champion Jason Gardener insists you write off the 400m hurdler at your peril.

Coming into last summer’s Olympics the Welshman stood on the verge of history, as the reigning world, European and Commonwealth champion; the hurdler only needed gold in London to complete his CV.

But a knee injury in the winter build-up to London severely disrupted his training and in the final he had to settle for fourth, agonisingly outside the medals.

That was a seismic blow for Greene, who also finished just off the podium in the men’s 4x400m relay squad that came home fourth.

A year on from London and Greene is still not yet back to the form that saw him claim world gold in Daegu back in 2011, a fifth place in the Rome Diamond League meet and a second at Gateshead last month the best he has managed this season.

But Gardener, who won Olympic gold in the 4x100m relay at Athens 2004, insists that Greene is still a force to be reckoned with for the worlds in Moscow in August.

“All the athletes worked really hard up to London 2012 and it took a lot out of them and I include Dai Greene in that,” said Gardener, a Youth Sport Trust ambassador at Lloyds TSB National School Sport Week.

“Dai punished his body over a number of years to be world champion and to be European and Commonwealth champion.

“These aren’t easy feats and you have to go through the pain barrier to get there and that is what Dai did – it has taken its toll.

“He has had surgeries and is still perhaps coming back from them and that means he is slowly getting back to the level he was.

“We saw this at the Games when he missed out on a place on the podium which I know was hard for him to take.

“But he didn’t get to where he was by chance, it took determination and hard work and I know that Dai will be hungrier than ever after all this.

“He holds the title now and won’t want to give that up without a fight so will be doing all he can to overcome his struggles in time for Moscow.”

And Gardener, himself a world indoor champion over 60m back in 2004, has warned British athletes that the time for dwelling on London is long gone.

The sport of athletics waits for no man and Greene and co need to bounce back to winning ways in Russia this summer.

“Even though we had the London 2012 Olympics last year the show goes on and we have the World Championships to look forward to this summer,” he added.

“It gives the chance for those guys who perhaps didn’t do as well as they had hoped at the Games to try again and bounce back and prove themselves.

“We have just had the European Team Championships up in a very wet Gateshead and the team did very well, finishing third with the highest points we have ever achieved in that competition.”

Lloyds TSB National School Sport Week, Britain’s biggest school sporting event, takes place from 24 – 28 June 2013. Support your local school and help continue to encourage more young people to do more sport. To find out more visit www.lloydstsb.com/nssw

MORE: Have your say on Facebook

MORE: The latest football news

MORE: The latest tennis news

The Sport Review
Jose Mourinho sends message to Man United supporters about Antoine Griezmann
The Sport Review
Top 50 most stylish footballers in the world in 2017: Arsenal, Man United, Chelsea, Liverpool stars feature
The Sport Review
Top 25 Muslim football players in Premier League: Arsenal, Liverpool, Man United and Chelsea stars feature
The Sport Review
Arsenal WAGs 2017: Meet Granit Xhaka, Shkodran Mustafi and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s wives and girlfriends
The Sport Review
Roberto Firmino: 25 photos of the Liverpool forward’s stunning wife
The Sport Review
Top 40 Muslim footballers: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Man United stars feature
The Sport Review
Arsenal, Chelsea, Man United and Liverpool stars among 16 players out of contract in 2018
The Sport Review
French Open 2017: Returning Petra Kvitova wins first as top seed Angelique Kerber falls at first
The Sport Review
Photo: Alexis Sanchez sends message to Arsenal fans after FA Cup final win
The Sport Review
French Open 2017: Dimitrov, Robredo, Thiem carry one-handed banner into Round 2 but Evans goes out