Dai Greene faces Games rivals in Paris test
DAI Greene will continue his Olympic preparations tonight as he races against some of his fiercest rivals in Paris.
The Samsung Diamond League meeting in France (7pm, BST) will be the Llanelli hurdler's penultimate race before the London Games, with one run at Crystal Palace to come next Friday.
The fastest 400m hurdler in the world this year, Javier Culson, will be among Greene's opponents this evening, as will former Olympic champion Felix Sanchez.
American Bershawn Jackson, the 2005 world champion who was recently involved in a verbal spat with Greene, has missed out on London qualification but will be racing tonight. Jackson was a surprising casualty at the American trials after he was beaten by shock winner Michael Tinsley in a time of 48.33, with reigning Olympic champion Angelo Taylor second and Kerron Clement third.
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Also lining up in Paris will be Trinidadian Jehue Gordon, who finished ahead of Greene in Oslo last month.
Greene was a disappointing fourth in Norway, and his preparations for the Olympics have been frustrating at times.
His season's best time of 48.96 is more than a second slower than Culson's world-leading mark.
Greene also underwent knee surgery last December which, although minor, has hampered his progress according to coach Malcolm Arnold.
The 26-year-old is one of Wales and Britain's best hopes of a gold medal on the track at London.
He currently holds the World, European and Commonwealth titles and, if he was to add an Olympic crown to his achievements, he would join the likes of Daley Thompson and Linford Christie in possessing all medals at once.
Greene is also aiming to become Wales's first athletics gold medallist at the Olympics since Lynn Davies claimed victory in the long-jump at the Tokyo Games in 1964.
His gold medal at the World Championships in Daegu last year marked Greene as a world-class performer, but UK Athletics coach Charles van Commenee has warned that replicating his form from South Korea may not be enough to claim gold in London.
"We won't know how strong the opposition is," said van Commenee.
"But even if he comes back to the form that he had in Daegu, that may not be enough.
"Dai has got time and is making good progress in training. But let us see in five to six weeks for now. It looks feasible that he could hit top form."