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Greene takes Gold in Daegu


Dai Greene takes Gold in Daegu

Dai Greene takes Gold in Daegu

On day six of the IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, there was double medal joy for the Aviva GB & NI team with two medals won in thrilling circumstances, bringing the British medal count to five for the week.

In the men’s 400m hurdles final, Dai Greene proved he was right to be confident heading into the biggest race of his life with a superb performance to win the Aviva GB & NI team’s first Gold medal of the World Championships.

The Swansea man – who along with fellow 400m hurdles representative Jack Green trains under the tutelage of hurdling guru Malcolm Arnold at Bath University – ran a well timed race where he conserved enough energy to ensure he could be the fastest off the last hurdle.

Having entered the straight in fourth position, he took the final two hurdles cleanly and overtook Felix Sanchez, and South African LJ Van Zyl and finally Puerto Rican Javier Culson in the final strides to cross the line first and take the World title in impressive style in a time of 48.26.

It was a super-cool display from the Welshman who has remained completely confident throughout qualifying of his credentials, but in delivering them so completely has surpassed British athletics supporters’ wildest hopes for the Thursday evening session.

“It hasn’t really sunk in yet to be honest. I’m very happy. This has been my aim all week, all season and I’m very proud to come away with a victory. I love representing Great Britain and when I get back to the village tonight I will realise that this is a dream come true,” he reflected.

“I’ve got great support staff around me and with the GB camp we have great support staff out here as well. Everything in my life is geared towards being the best athlete I can and my confidence comes from knowing I put the hard work in every day of the year.  My confidence is based on the hard work I have done and it’s great when it pays off.

“It’s a lot easier to put in the hard winter when you’ve got a gold medal on the mantle piece – I’ve got three from three from the last three championships and I want to complete the set next year.”

Just half an hour before Greene’s final, Hannah England (Bud Baldaro) ensured the Aviva GB & NI team had a double celebration on the night with a superb performance in the women’s 1500m final to secure the silver medal.

England, who won the Aviva UK trials in a sprint finish against 2009 World silver medallist Lisa Dobriskey, went one better than her friend and domestic rival in making tonight’s final, and then equalled her achievement with a superb run that surprised many of the world’s top metric milers.

England who has promised so much since competing in the world juniors in Beijng back in 2006 has learned her trade throughout the years, but in 2011 appears to have gained the belief that she can indeed compete with the world’s best.

Hugging the kerb for much of the race she bided her time before moving out over the final 200m and unleashing her trademark kick as much of the rest of the field faded.

The Aviva On Camp with Kelly supported athlete – who has benefitted from the mentoring and guidance of Kelly Holmes in recent years – crossed the line in 4:05.68, behind USA’s Jennifer Barringer Simpson, after her superior sprint finish on the final run in.

“It sounds great – being World silver medallist! I’m so, so excited. I just wanted to do as well as I could and I told myself that every position counted and tried to stay calm. I’m really chuffed the way that I managed to execute the last 200m. I didn’t panic I just wanted to run as fast as I could,” she said
“I’ve raced these girls a lot of times in different grands prix and I knew that if the race played into my hands I knew I could do something like this. I kept that belief alive and didn’t put any pressure on myself.

“Kelly (Holmes) has been great. She set her alarm for 2.30am for the first round. She has been texting me every round and given me nice little snippets to keep my confidence up!”

Earlier in the evening, in the women’s triple jump final, Yamile Aldama (Frank Attoh) began strongly setting a season’s best of 14.50m in her opening round, a mark that saw her safely ensconced in the upper echelons of the leader board for the competition and easily making the cut for the final three jumps.

But frustratingly for the 39-year-old, she could not control her run up over the next four attempts to improve on that mark and her 14.33m final round effort did not improve her position. Still, finishing her debut competition for the Aviva GB & NI team in fifth place ensured Aldama had a memorable experience in Daegu, and she spoke positively after her competition:

“I tried my best and after the first round I thought I could get a medal but it was not to be,” she conceded

“I have been out of shape for two or three years and maybe it caught up with me. I am not 100% satisfied, but happy and it was amazing to compete in a British vest!”

Finally, following her superb lifetime best ran in this morning’s heats, Anyika Onuora (Lloyd Cowan) was seventh in a highly competitive 200m semi final heat won in 22.46 by American Shalonda Solomon. Onuora, running from lane two however still put in a solid performance with 23.08 – her third fastest time ever over the half-lap sprint, and for her a real confidence boost in the build up to 2012:

“I’ve used this as a platform, a huge stepping stone into next year. It’s fantastic to be out there competing in the stadium – I imagine it to be like that in 2012. I definitely want to produce more in the next 12 months.

“I only came out here on a B standard, so to come and run 22 in the Championship means I’m in good shape and I think there is a lot more to come.”

World Championship action featuring Aviva GB & NI team members continues on Friday morning and includes, amongst others,  Sophie Hitchon (Derek Evely) in the women’s hammer qualifying, Tiffany Porter in the women’s 100m hurdles heats and defending World Champion Phillips Idowu in the men’s triple jump qualifying.

Aviva GB & NI medals so far:

Sunday 28 August  Mo Farah  Men’s 10,000m Silver
Monday 29 August  Andy Turner  Men’s 110mH  Bronze
Tuesday 30 August   Jess Ennis  Heptathlon  Silver
Thursday 1 September Hannah England Women’s 1500m Silver

Thursday 1 September Dai Greene  Men’s 400mH  Gold

Top 8 finishes

Monday 29 August     William Sharman             Men’s 110mH  5th
Thursday 1 September   Yamile Aldama    Women’s Triple Jump         5th