The man who made Dai Green “reluctantly” jump a hurdle at the age of 11 at Coedcae School will be at the Olympic 400-metre hurdle final cheering his protégé on in the event dubbed the “man killer”.
Former school PE teacher Mike Walters now retired said: “I can hardly believe I will be there to see the culmination of all Dai’s hard work after all these years.”
Mike said he had always, because of his passion for sport, visited championships the world over and made many friends along the way.
“Amazingly some months ago some American friends I met on my travels called me up at my Scotland home and offered me a ticket for the games. I asked what event and when they told me the 400-mettres hurdle final I nearly fell over in shock.”
Mike has arranged to meet up with Dai’s parents and brothers at the post event Red Bull hospitality to celebrate what Mike is convinced will be golden celebration for Dai.
He said: “I have never met anyone more single minded than Dai. He is so focused and is building up to this final perfectly after his knee surgery.
“As a teenager he was set on becoming a Swansea City footballer and showed early great promise. But we had two soccer players in the school and they were both flyers but Dai was slightly slower so he could never make the right wing berth his own.
“As a result he learned to kick with his left foot to adapt to the left wing slot and scored a famous penalty for the Swansea youth in European competition.
“It was a few years later when his interest in soccer waned and he returned to athletics through Swansea Harriers that Dai was reintroduced to hurdles he was quite naff at at Coedcae. He found the left foot soccer training gave him a now natural technique to hurdle at a breakneck pace.
“The rest is history and I am grateful for my small part in this great man’s success.”
Mike has been in Llanelli and has had a special Welsh Dragon flag made up by Steve Jacobs of Manhatten Marketing and a fleece to match.
“I will certainly be flying the flag and csreaming ‘Go-Dai.’ He is the greatest sportsman to come out of Llanelli and that is saying something for a rugby hotbed.
“I would like to see his first hurdle gold plated and installed as some kind of art work in the remodelled Llanelli if Dai triumphs on Monday and to see him down to open East Gate the new leisure quarter.
“The timing is perfect and Dai could turn out to be Llanelli’s greatest ever ambassador.”