Dai is a gutsy athlete and has commanded various gold medals at global events. He was one of the favourites going into the London Olympics but, after a tough semi final, finished 4th behind his main rivals in the final.
Barrie’s funding gave Dai the reassurance he needed to make the full time move to Bath, enabling him to be closer to his coach, Malcolm Arnold. He also funded a prolonged period of training in South Africa in late 2011, early 2012. Barrie's financial assistance has meant less everyday stress for Dai and has given him the peace of mind he needs to fully focus on his training and performance.
Barrie has been to 3 of Dai’s Athletes 4 Schools visits and is so impressed with how genuinely Dai relates to young people, regardless of their ability.
With Dai, what you see is what you get... he says it like it is and is very logical and laid back. His confidence and hunger to achieve comes across in everything he does and his close friends describe him as annoyingly good at everything. He also has a quiet side and at competitions tends to keep himself to himself, although in the past couple of years has come out of his shell. He was awarded with the honour of Team GB Captain for the London Olympics, with UK Athletics believing in his ability to lead and inspire.
Dai is also down to earth, caring and a bit of a joker. If you follow him on Twitter you can keep updated with his honest insights and witty one liners.
Dai had always been into athletics throughout school but it wasn't until university that he started to take it seriously. He had been focusing on a career as a footballer but, on realising this wasn't going to happen, he met a group of athletes and their passion and dedication motivated him to get serious. It was at this point that he was able to have more control over his epilepsy condition which he became aware of at the age of 17. He was looking after himself well and turned his epilepsy into a positive, less going out and late nights meant less seizures and more control over his health and fitness, which in turn had a positive effect on his hurdling.
It is important for Dai to promote this positive attitude in schools and show young people how beneficial sport can be on any level. His advice is to never give up on your goals as no matter how many times you lose, the ones you win make it all worth it.
What is your favourite and worst thing about being a athlete?
As it is an individual sport you cannot rely on others, if you haven't done the hard work it will show so I love that it is all down to me - I find this very motivating. The worst thing is getting injuries. You work so hard for a limited amount of opportunities of success so if you run into injury this can be so tough on your outlook. But when the long periods of hard work come together in that one moment, achieving what you set out to do at the start of the year is the crowning glory of it all and it's definitely worth it in the end.
Describe what you are thinking and feeling just before a race.
I tend to get a little bit nervous in the hotel in the days leading up to the competition, especially for the big competitions so I have to try and distract myself by watching movies and things like that. When I get to the track I find that all my nerves disappear and I'm in my comfort zone, I have done it so many times before and I know what I need to do to run well.
Do you have any bad habits?
I can get moody when I'm tired and hungry. Food is so important to me as it determines how I will function so I make sure I always eat the right things for my training and never skip meals. My guilty pleasure is chocolate but I limit myself and only really eat it when I am in hard training as this is when I can get away with it.
What is your relationship with Barrie like?
Barrie is very knowledgeable in my event which always helps. The first time we spoke I think I was on the phone to him for over an hour talking technical aspects of hurdling and usually with people who are interested in you they tend not to know too much, just that you train a lot, so it was very refreshing having someone who was so aware of what I go through on a day to day basis. He’s had quite a pedigree of athletes under his wing now and what he’s doing through the Foundation
is great for the next generation.