400m hurdles world leader won’t be overawed by the home support for world champion Dai Greene
As one of just two events to feature a British reigning world champion, the men’s 400m hurdles final will be one of the most highly-anticipated athletics events at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Dai Greene, winner of the world title in Daegu last year, is finding good form at just the right time after setting a PB of 47.84 in Paris and clocking 48.10 – his third best-ever time – in London earlier in July.
But on both of those occasions he was beaten by Javier Culson. The Puerto Rican athlete leads the world with his 47.78 season’s best and is undefeated this year. After taking silver at the past two World Championships, Culson is desperate to win his first major gold.
“I’m feeling very healthy and ready to win gold, physically and mentally,” said the 28-year-old.
“I respect Greene. He is the world champion and he is very strong. But I’m just thinking about my own race. That’s the important thing. My own race.”
Since their first competitive clash three years ago, their head-to-head record stands at 8-7 to Culson. A victory by Greene would even the score, but Culson is keen to keep the upper hand and says he won’t succumb to the pressure as he seeks to fulfil his dream of winning Olympic gold.
“I feel a little bit of pressure because right now I’m the first in the world, I have the best time and my country is watching me. But it’s going to be OK.
“My people think I’m going to win the gold and I’m going to work hard for that and to follow my dream.”
With 10 days to go until the final in the men’s 400m hurdles, Culson knows exactly how he will get himself in the right state of mind.
“I listen to music and I stay in my room and I watch my best races this season,” he says. “Looking at myself in races inspires me.”