World Athletics 2011: Dai Greene after 400m hurdles rivals

By Tom FordyceChief sports writer in Daegu, South Korea
Dai Greene
Greene is among the favourites to clinch gold on Thursday

Britain's Dai Greene insists he will fear no reputations or times when he sets out to win 400m hurdles gold at the World Championships.

Greene's heats get under way early on Monday with the European and Commonwealth champion in typically confident mood after another excellent season.

Greene told BBC Sport: "I don't feel intimidated by anyone in the slightest, and I hope I'm intimidating some of the others.

"They've seen the way I've managed to step up. I always believe I can run fast at the major championships, but I want them to believe it too, and I hope they're starting to get the message now. "

Greene is the fifth fastest man in the world this year, but the quick times run by the two South Africans ahead of him, LJ van Zyl and Cornel Fredericks, were both run much earlier in the year.

Greene beat American Bershawn Jackson in Birmingham last month, and also defeated the reigning world champion Kerron Clement and Javier Culsom to win the Diamond League race in Lausanne.

"I'm not frightened of them," he insists. "I always look for them to show me a weakness and give me something to work on.

"I'm very aware of that around a hotel or village, and it seems to be working at the village. I want them to see me as one of the top three in the world, as someone they have to beat rather than the other way round.

"Sometimes you speak to an athlete before a race and they'll complain about a small injury, but even if my leg was hanging off I'd tell them I was in good shape.

"If I'm drawn inside them I'll say, 'watch out for yourself coming off the top bend, I'll be coming for you...'. I'll give them something to think about.

"I'm a really nice guy, but I don't always look the most welcoming - I've got the skinhead, I'm usually not clean-shaven and I'm not always the most talkative, so they might think I'm unapproachable for the wrong reasons.

"But as long as it gives off a certain presence then I'm happy with that. I'll never give them an edge, never tell them I'm tired beforehand."

Greene was in a similar mood before winning European gold last summer, saying before the event that anything less than the title would represent failure.

These Worlds represent a new order of challenge though, but having delivered both in Barcelona and then at the Commonwealths in Delhi after an illness-hit build-up, Greene has a very real chance of taking his first global title.

Bookmakers for Thursday night's final have the Welshman joint second favourite with Jackson, marginally behind former Olympic champion Angelo Taylor.

"There's a thin line between confidence and arrogance, but I get my confidence from my training, and the effort that I put in on a day-to-day basis," explains Greene.

"I would never say I'm going to win a competition when deep down inside I know I can't - I don't agree with that.

"I want to run under 48 seconds in the final. If I do that I'll have given myself a great chance of a medal, and hopefully a gold medal. A lot of Americans will have peaked for their trials, and by the time the Worlds come round they might tend to struggle.

"Us European athletes have things very well set up for us, because we have a later season that ties in better with the big championships."

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