Greene day as Dai wins Britain first gold
Daegu: Dai Greene gave next year`s Olympic hosts their first gold medal at the world championships on Thursday, powering home to win the 400 metres hurdles title in a thrilling finish.
The Welshman still had plenty of ground to make up on Puerto Rican pace-setter Javier Culson when they jumped the final hurdle but puffed his cheeks out and found an extra burst of pace to win the gold in 48.26 seconds.
"I am just overwhelmed," he said. "I cannot believe it has happened to me. When I get back to the hotel tonight, I will realise my dream came true. I love representing Great Britain."
Culson was second in 48.44 while South Africa`s LJ Van Zyl, the fastest man this year, won bronze in 48.80. Twice Olympic champion Angelo Taylor of the United States could manage only seventh place in 49.31.
Britain, desperate for some home success to cheer at next year`s London Olympics, have had a disappointing championships so far with Jessica Ennis failing to retain her heptathlon crown and Mo Farah piped to gold in the men`s 10,000.
"I know we haven`t won a gold before but that`s not to say Mo and Jess did not perform to the best of their abilities," said Greene. "They wear the British vest with so much pride and determination."
Greene was something of a dark horse in the race to win Britain`s first title at the championships, despite his excellent form in the Diamond League.
Injuries to some of his rivals and a mistake by Culson eased his path, however.
A groin injury had robbed the one-lap hurdles of American double defending champion Kerron Clement, who failed to get through the heats, while his compatriot Taylor has been suffering from plantar fasciitis.
Two false starts in the final unsettled 2004 Olympic champion Felix Sanchez, who finished fourth, while Culson, who also won silver in Berlin two years ago, said he had made an error at the final hurdle.
"I got desperate at the final hurdle too much and lost my pace," he said. "I had the gold in my hands and let it go.
"I was alone in front and saw the last hurdle from quite a distance. That slowed me down and I was caught up."
Ice cool Greene still had to take his chance, of course, and although his time was the slowest ever to win the title at the world championships, he was delighted with his effort.
"I realised at 250 that I was a little bit behind but I really dug deep," he said. "I`ve had a great year. I put everything together tonight."