London 2012 Olympics: Dai Greene scrapes through to 400m final
DAI Greene, the captain of the British athletics team and on paper one of its strongest contenders for medals, scraped through to the final of the 400 metres hurdles last night as one of two fastest losers. Running in the first of three semi-finals, the Welsh world champion, pictured, clocked 48.19 seconds to come fourth, and had an anxious wait before learning that his time was fastest enough to get him through to tomorrow night’s final.
It was a hesitant run from the 26-year-old, who said: “I can’t believe it. I couldn’t catch them. I’m devastated. I’m shocked and feel like I’ve let everyone down. That’s no way for a world champion to qualify.”
If Greene is to get close to a medal, he will need to run far more fluently. Felix Sanchez, twice world champion and the Olympic gold medallist in Athens, won Greene’s heat in 47.76. It was the fastest time in the world this year.
Greene’s Team GB understudies were unable to go through. Jack Green fell on the back straight and failed to finish in the second semi. And in the third, Rhys Williams came fourth in 49.63.
In the semi-finals of the women’s 400m, defending champion Christine Ohuruogu had few problems, qualifying second from her race in a season’s best time of 50.22. America’s Sanya Richards-Ross won it.
Shana Cox was seventh in 52.58 in the second semi, won by world champion Avantle Montsho of Botswana in 50.15. Lee McConnell also came seventh in the third semi, but in 52.24, which should guarantee her a slot in the relay team later in the week.
“I’m quite disappointed to have run that time,” the Glaswegian said. “I really had hoped for better, but it was such a quick race in the middle of the field. It was tough being in lane two, trying to keep with it to 300 to give myself a chance. The girls were just different class.
“I thought I was going OK, but the home straight was tough. I was trying to tune into the crowd to push me on, but I just didn’t quite get there.”
This was a last individual appearance at the Games for McConnell, who also competed in Athens and Beijing, but she could still finish her Olympic career on a high in the relay, the squad for which also contains her fellow-Scot Eilidh Child. “Hopefully we can put on a good performance Friday and get into the final on Saturday,” said McConnell.
The individual final is tonight at 9.10pm.
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