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Rio Olympics - Jack Green aiming for 400m hurdles final in early hours of Wednesday

In the early hours of Wednesday morning Jack Green will run in the semi-final an Olympic Games that he once thought might take place without him.

The 24-year-old from Hythe has battled injury and depression since he last took part in an Olympic 400mH race and barely ran at all from the summer of 2013 until the end of 2014 - even trying his hand at rugby at one stage.

Jack Green training Kings Hill FC under-9s. Picture: Matthew Walker
Jack Green training Kings Hill FC under-9s. Picture: Matthew Walker

However the former Brockhill School and Saltwood Primary pupil got himself back on track in the USA and after a switch back to Kent last year, turned in a series of stellar times in June and July to ensure one of the two TeamGB spots for Rio, where he also part of the 4x400m relay squad.

He stormed to the line in Monday's heat to claim second place in a season's best time of 48.96secs and qualify for the semi-finals, in which he runs in the first of three races from lane four at 1.35am on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, seeking a place in Thursday's final.

He said: "The Olympics is the pinnacle of our sport and it wasn't very long ago that it was highly unlikely I would be going to another Games. It's an honour to represent my friends, family and country in my second Games."

Despite crashing out at the semi-final stage of the hurdles at London 2012, Green insists he has 'no unfinished business' to right this time around.

He said: "London was a successful Championships for me. I was a semi-finalist and finished fourth in the relay, all at the age of 20, in the biggest competition I could possibly do."

The 4x400m relay competition begins late on Friday, August 19, with the final on the final night of competition, Saturday, August 20.

Despite his sparkling form, Green admitted: "The best case scenario for me would be making the hurdles final and picking up a medal in the relay. Both are possible but will require me to really step it up when it counts."

In order to find success Green is likely to have to beat the 48.60sec Personal Best time he set in the lead-up to London 2012, and to do that he is hoping a new stride pattern between the hurdles pays dividends.

He said: "Anyone who knows athletics knows that if you take the hurdles out of the way then I'm your man. It shows how much stride pattern makes a difference. My whole career is trying to find the right stride pattern for my speed."

In his final run before Rio, Green used the new stride pattern to break 49 seconds for just the third time in his career at the London Anniversary Games back at the Olympic Stadium.

He said: "It was my first hurdles there since I fell. Whenever I do a new stride pattern I have to think a lot because it's not habit. I'm not as fast because I'm thinking.

"It was probably a good thing that I had to think about other things otherwise I could have been like 'ooh this is the hurdle that bit me.'

"I'm really pleased because I got it - it was quite robotic and I was trying to get it in my head but I ran 48.99.

"Those were the best guys in the world there. That's the Olympic final. And I'm not far off. The final is the aim."

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