Wednesday, 24 August 2011
WRITTEN FOR SKYSPORTS (ON AUG 9TH)
Jack Green is a young man who thrives off challenges and this summer, the 400m hurdler has leapt over both the age and time gap to world-class level as he looks to a place in the Olympic final next year, writes Nicola Bamford.
The 19-year-old Kent AC runner refuses to let his young years and relative inexperience in the event hold him back from global glory - a fact highlighted by his recent inclusion in the Team GB squad for the World Championships in Daegu, South Korea later this month, where Green will make his senior championship debut.
Guided by hurdles guru Malcolm Arnold and training alongside European and Commonwealth champion Dai Greene, the athlete with the most untapped potential in the Bath-based squad is keen to establish himself in the biggest event of a thus far, remarkable season:
“The World Championships are where I plan on putting a spanner in the works against the more experienced heads,” he explained.
“Obviously I am very happy with how everything has gone this year but I still expect more of myself.
“My performances this year have been very consistent and everyone knows consistency leads to dropping a very quick time - I'm hoping that will arrive when I need it to.”
Green is of course, referring to such achievements as improving his outdoor best by a second and a half to a scintillating 48.98, mixing it with the best senior competition at two Diamond League events and claiming the European under23 Championship title in storming fashion.
Having spent periods of the winter and spring training in South Africa and Italy, respectively, Green indeed got his 2011 campaign off to a sterling start.
First, he shattered his 400m flat lifetime best on six occasions (with a best of 46.91) before finishing fourth in the same event at the UK senior Championships during the indoor season.
A student of Sports Performance at Bath University, Green then went onto put such theory into practice on the outdoor track by claiming victory at the Loughborough International, finishing second in British under23 Championships behind close-rival Nathan Woodward and then placed a fine fourth in the Lausanne leg of the Diamond League before capturing continental gold in Ostrava.
Riding on the crest of a wave in only his fifth season in the discipline, Green then
went onto clock his first sub-50 second performance at the Aviva British Grand Prix in Birmingham, where he again finished in a highly-respectable fourth against world-class field to elevate him to third on the UK rankings for the summer thus far and ahead of European silver-medallist Rhys Williams.
“Ostrava was a typical championship, I went to win,” Green revealed.
“I really feel we (Brits) are becoming like the Americans in the 400m hurdles - we are going to have people staying at home with the qualifying standard for the major competitions – it's not overly fair but it only makes you stronger.
“I've said it before but all of us have a lot to thank Dai and Rhys for - I believe because of their successes in 2010, they gave all of us the belief to run quicker.
“I remember when breaking fifty seconds was a big deal, now you have to be a 48-runner at least to feature!”
Having recently missed the UK Championships and also the Aviva London Grand Prix with tonsillitis, Green is confident of getting back to his best in time for Deagu as he sets off to the Team GB preparation camp in South Korea next week:
“The illness has become a blessing in disguise as it's allowed me to rest after the European Under23’s and train hard without having to taper for racing, so I should be ready to go in the 400m hurdles and I will be ready to run the relay,” he explained.
Fifth in the World junior Championships in Canada last summer in 50.49 to place third on the UK all-time under20 list, Green will join his namesake (Dai) and also Woodward in the competition, where he additionally hopes to feature in at least the first-round heat of the 4x400m relay.
All in all, regardless of his performances in Daegu, Green will be using the event as vital experience for an even tougher short-term aim, the Olympic Games in London next summer:
“I will evaluate my aims at the end of this season but ideally I will be in that Olympic final,” he revealed.
“But 2012's just another competition to me and I will keep that mentality the whole way through.
“The crowd and competition will be great and I have no doubts London will put on a great show but I will be there to do a job and entertain a crowd - I see myself as a performer and I want to do my best for the fans and supporters.”