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Peace between the Riddler and Batman; Greene on USA rivals ATHLETICS.

Byline: PHIL CASEY

IT will come as a shock to comic book fans, but in athletics terms at least, peace appears to have broken out between Batman and The Riddler.

In this instance Batman is not a crime fighter from Gotham but an American athlete by the name of Bershawn Jackson. The Riddler is not an arch-criminal but world 400 metres hurdles champion Dai Greene.

Their spat came about following Greene's victory in Daegu last year, when the Welshman was misquoted as calling the Americans "over-rated" after Jackson and compatriot Angelo Taylor could only finish sixth and seventh respectively.

That led to Jackson predicting an American clean sweep in the 400m hurdles in London - as they achieved in Beijing in 2008 - and claiming Greene had written a "cheque he can't cash", while Taylor derided Greene's winning time of 48.26s. Super villain Greene wavered yesterday between saying he was "not bothered" by what the Americans think of him to not wanting to be the man who "just slags them off," but Jackson certainly appeared to have heard of the Welshman's explanation.

"It's nothing, the media are making it more than it really is," said Jackson, who revealed his Batman nickname has stuck since he was nine years old due to his "big ears that fly when I run".

"He (Greene) is a great competitor and the world champion. He was the best man on that day. I take nothing away from him and what he accomplished."

Greene also criticised the role of newspapers, but added: "When I first read the story I was obviously a bit disappointed that I'd been misquoted.

"I don't want to be seen as the athlete who just slags them off. They're the most successful nation in the 400m hurdles in recent years. I'm not stupid, I know that.

"I'm sure (Jackson) must have caught wind of what I said to explain it. Whether he wants to speak to me or not it doesn't really bother me. I don't come here to make friends.

"I see him only maybe six times in a year. It's no stress to me. I just want to be respectful to my opponents.

"I was in Portugal at the time with my training group and we just had a laugh about it. I found it quite comical in a way. I was dubbed the Riddler, so the rest of the group had to have nicknames too.

"Jack (Green) was Poison Ivy, Malcolm (Arnold, his coach) was The Penguin, Lawrence (Clarke) was a little penguin minion, following Malcolm around.

The Riddler "It doesn't bother me if people find me nice or not nice. I'm always courteous to them. I always congratulate them when they beat me. As long as they see me as a good competitor and someone who stands for high morals in sport as well."

Those high morals also extend to the issue of drugs in athletics, with Greene previously revealing he would tell drug cheats to their face that they should not be on the start line in London.

"Everyone knows how I feel about it. I'm just proud to say that I do it clean, " added Greene, who races in today's Diamond League meeting in Rome.

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CAPTION(S):

Super villain The Riddler Dai Greene yesterday (main); the Welshman celebrating (above left) after his win in the 400m hurdles in the World Championships in Daegu last year (above right)
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:May 31, 2012
Words:583
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