London 2012 Olympics: Dai Greene leads three British runners into 400m hurdles semi-finals / London 2012 Olympics News

World champion Dai Greene made light work of his first-round 400 metres hurdles heat when he breezed into the semi-finals with a comfortable victory in 48.98 seconds.

Greene’s main rival for the gold medal, Puerto Rican Javier Culson, sent an ominous warning by winning his heat in 48.33 sec – a super-fast time for a first-round race and early evidence that he is no mood to surrender his unbeaten record this year.

Greene was inconvenienced by an awkward draw in lane one but ran a controlled race to triumph ahead of Serbian Emir Bekric.

“It was relatively easy, and it’s job done,” said Greene. “I’ll concentrate a bit harder tomorrow and be more on point.”

The Welshman described the atmosphere inside the stadium as “amazing” and added that, as captain of the team, his mission had been to lead by example with a convincing win.

“In general we’ve had a great first day,” he said. “I went into the call room just as Jess ran a 12.54 and I had to get a bit closer to the screen to double-check the time. Those sort of things are amazing for team morale.”

Greene’s was a victory that was met with huge roar from the capacity London crowd clearly revelling in a string of British successes on the opening morning.
Those successes continued as Jack Green, Greene’s Bath training partner, booked his place in Saturday’s 400m hurdles semi-finals, finishing second in his heat in 49.49 sec behind 2004 Olympic champion Felix Sanchez, of the Dominican Republic.
And Rhys Williams made it a full set of British qualifiers when he went through as one of the fastest losers, clocking 49.17 sec to finish fifth in his heat.
Angelo Taylor, the American defending Olympic champion and another of Green’s key rivals, also made progress by winning his heat in 49.29 sec, but the South African pair of LJ van Zyl and Cornel Fredericks, who finished third and fifth respectively at last year’s World Championships in Daegu, both made surprise early exits.

London 2012 Olympics News : Jessica Ennis leads GB’s Olympics athletics medal charge

British hope Jessica Ennis, the poster girl of the Olympics, Jessica Ennis’s rival Tatyana Chernova attempts to get the crowd to add their rhythmic claps to her run-up in her final attempt at 1.83m in the heptathlon high jump. They politely join in, but I reckon a fair few will be mighty pleased to see the bar tumble. Her mark of 1.80m is 7cm off he personal best. Now is the time for Jessica Ennis to put a second big dent in her rival. She fails in her first attempt at 1.86m.

London 2012 Olympics News:Golds for New Zealand and South Africa

New Zealand won gold in the men’s Double Sculls and South Africa took top honours in the men’s Lightweight Four after a close final.

World champions Nathan Cohen and Joseph Sullivan won the Double Sculls in 6:31.67, ahead of Italy and the Slovenian crew who were looking to reclaim the Olympic title they won 12 years ago in Sydney.

Great Britain’s pair made a promising start, leading the field after 250m and were in medal contention heading into the second half of the race.

But New Zealand and Italy produced strong finishes to overhaul Slovenia and row Britain out of the medals.

South Africa won gold in the men’s Lightweight Four as Great Britain won a silver medal after being pipped to the line in a sensational final.

In a thrilling sprint for the line, the British crew edged 2008 champions Denmark into bronze.

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