Expert Blog

Backley: Greene leads British hopes on track

Expert Blog

View photo


Dai Greene (Reuters)

I think Dai Greene has one heck of a chance in London to back up his 400m hurdles world champion title. Every time I see him run I feel he has a bit extra to catch Javier Culson. And it's only Culson who I feel rivals Dai — Luis van Zyl starts the season well because of the way the South African season is set up, but going into our summer he fades.

I was very impressed with Mo Farah last year but there is a big 'but' — the Olympics is a special year and they make much more effort to get it right in an Olympic year, to the extent that they will sacrifice a season.

Last year Mo ran away from the field — but if he takes gold this year it will have to come down to a tight finish. Look at Paris this year — there were seven guys under 12:50.  And five of them are in the top 10 of all time.

I think that illustrates the point I'm trying to make — people are in shape. But Mo is in shape — 13.10 at Crystal Palace, and he has mastered the art of getting ready for major championships under Alberto Salazar.

In the 400m I'd imagine LaShawn Merritt goes in as favourite in London but it's not the strongest field. You get an ebb and flow in certain events. Look at the 800m with Seb Coe and Steve Ovett — it went quiet for a long time, but now you have David Rudisha who looks like he'll break the world record every time he runs.

The 400m is in that lull at the moment, which you'd think presents a great opportunity for one of the Brits. However, I was quite disappointed with the way they ran at Crystal Palace. I had high hopes for Martyn Rooney, who ran under-45s three times early season but has faded.

If one of the guys can nick 44.5, 44.6 they could find themselves on a rostrum. In previous years you had to target 44.3, so it's open now. It's one of my favourite events, I used to run it as a kid, and I just hope the Brits seize the opportunity.

I would probably expect him to have a better chance at 10k — I think his turn of speed is very good, but there are others who are just as good in 5k but he has that special endurance that will see him come good in the 10k.

Former javelin world record holder and twice Olympic silver medallist Steve Backley will be an expert consultant for Eurosport-Yahoo! during the London 2012 Games.

View comments (0)