European champions Greene and Asher-Smith follow different paths to Gold Coast

Dai Greene
Getty Images

Former European 400m hurdles champion Dai Greene is back in form after a succession of injuries and arrives at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast with a season's best of 49.38 

One was a European champion in 2010, the other a European champion in 2016. In Barcelona and in Amsterdam respectively, they celebrated success for Great Britain but over the next few weeks, they will chase more glory in different colours.

Dai Greene has been something of a forgotten man of track and field but at the Commonwealth Games which opened today in Gold Coast in Australia he will look to turn back the clock for Wales. 

As for England’s Dina Asher-Smith, she will be aiming to complete the set of major outdoor medals at the age of just 22. 

It was back in Barcelona that Llanelli-born Greene, now 31, came to wider prominence when he became the European 400m hurdles champion in 48.12. A few months later he won the Commonwealth title in Delhi, India before winning the world title in Daegu the following summer. 

He has not made a podium since - with injury playing a major part in his medal drought - but now he is ready to show that he is far from finished when he lines up in the 400m hurdles in Gold Coast. 

He needed hernia operations in 2013, 2015 and 2016 but retirement was never an option for an athlete who has achieved so much. 

“When you see everyone else competing, it is hard,” said Greene, speaking to the BBC. 

“It was frustrating but I knew the ability was still there and I believed I would get back to the start line. I don’t want to fizzle out. I have just as much appetite to train and work hard and be better as I did 10 years ago. It never occurred to me to pack it in.” 

He has competed very sparingly since 2011 but his three race wins in South Africa this winter have given him hope. He lowered his season’s best each time and arrives in Gold Coast with a 49.38 clocking to his credit. Now he is ready to show he is back in a year in which the first multi-sports European Championships in Berlin and Glasgow are not far away. 

It will be in Berlin where Asher-Smith will look for a successful defence of the 200m title she won in Amsterdam. 

Asher-Smith will almost certainly come up against reigning two-time world champion Dafne Schippers from the Netherlands in Berlin. She will face an equally loaded field in Gold Coast with Olympic champions Elaine Thompson and Shaunae Miller-Uibo both due to compete in the 200m but Asher-Smith has put together a remarkable run of success in recent years.

A former world and European U20 champion, Asher-Smith took her first individual senior medal over 60m behind Schippers in 2015 at the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Prague. She won the European 200m title the following season and has been on the podium in the 4x100m at the European Championships, World Championships and the Olympic Games. 

She will be looking to complete the outdoor set of major medals although the summer season remains the focal point of Asher-Smith’s campaign. 

“The Commonwealth Games are not normally in April so the challenge has been to get in good enough shape to perform well this early in the season but without jeopardising what we want to do later in the year for the Europeans,” Asher-Smith, who will contest both the 200m and 4x100m relay in Gold Coast, told Eurosport. 

“Hopefully I will be going well and peaking in August as well but it would mean so much to be on top of that podium, with it being Team England – that would be amazing.”