July 24, 2021

Dai Greene: Athletics ‘missed opportunity’ to shine after lockdown

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Dai Greene crosses the line first
Dai Greene last won the British 400m hurdles outdoor title in 2018

Former 400m hurdles world champion Dai Greene believes athletics has “missed a window of opportunity” during the disruption of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Welshman, 34, points to the way in which football has been able to restart relatively quickly after lockdown.

He says athletics could also have found a mass audience on television.

“Sadly I think athletics has missed a window of opportunity to showcase itself when other sports are limited,” Greene told BBC East Midlands Today.

“Athletics is non-contact, there’s plenty of events where there’s social distancing – field events and things like that.

“But sadly our sport has been left behind, certainly in the UK anyway. We’ve recently had the cancellation of a couple of bigger competitions and the only real competition we have in the UK is the British Championships.

“I can understand people’s reservations about holding competitions, but it would be great if we could get more athletics on the TV given there’s not much on at the moment.

“If football can do it, then certainly other sports can follow.”

‘No racing, no money’

Greene admits the lack of competitive events due to the impact of coronavirus has caused financial concerns for most athletes.

“It is difficult, I pretty much earn most of my money from racing and racing isn’t really something we can do at the moment,” Greene said.

“I had been doing appearances and talks, things like that, which again is something that I haven’t been able to do.

“I know I’m not the only person who is in this kind of situation, but it has been difficult and it will be difficult for the next six months or so.”

In 2011, Dai Greene was the European, Commonwealth and world 400m hurdles champion
In 2011, Dai Greene was the European, Commonwealth and world 400m hurdles champion

Greene had hoped to be competing this month for Great Britain at the Tokyo Olympics, which have been rescheduled for 2021.

The Llanelli hurdler will be 35 by then and it will also be 10 years since he won the 400m hurdles world title in South Korea.

“I’m 34 years old now, I’ve had a good year of training and I was meant to be in Tokyo competing in the Olympics,” Greene said.

“It’s a difficult pill to swallow but at the same time I feel as most athletes do that it was the right decision to delay it.

“It’s just disheartening, but given everything that’s going on in the world at the moment it’s understandable.

“I love what I do, love racing… physically it’s just whether my body can keep it up for another 12 months.

“I still want it just as much as I did when I was 21 years old.”