Athletics: Richards beats Ohuruogu and shares in pot of gold

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The Independent Online

Britain's leading 400 metres runners Christine Ohuruogu and Nicola Sanders were put in their places once again yesterday in Berlin's Olympic Stadium as Sanya Richards' emphatic victory confirmed her status as the world's leading one-lap runner and earned her a half-share of the $1m (£498,000) jackpot on offer to athletes winning their events in all six Golden League meetings.

Richards, who was unable to run the 400m at last month's World Championships after a below-par performance in the US trials, finished well clear in 49.27 seconds, the fastest time to have been run in the world this year.

Ohuruogu, who took the world title ahead of Sanders, maintained her domestic edge by coming second in 50.40sec, 0.30sec faster than the world silver medallist.

Britain's only world champion will learn next month whether the British Olympic Association has favoured her appeal against the life ban from the Games they imposed following her one-year ban for missing three drug tests. But if, as seems likely, she gets to Beijing, she will not labour under the burden of being favourite.

For Ohuruogu it was the second defeat to Richards in the space of nine days following the Zurich Golden League, where the Briton was fourth in 51.32sec. Sanders was beaten by the American in Brussels on Friday night when Richards lowered her world best mark for the year to 49.29.

Richards, meanwhile, will split the IAAF jackpot with Russia's pole-vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva, who produced a relatively modest effort of 4.82m to win in Berlin.

Ohuruogu, who had pulled out of the Brussels meeting citing exhaustion, admitted: "There's nothing very much different."

The individual gold medallist insisted, however, that it was the same for everyone: "I've taken inspiration from it. This is what everyone else has had to do as well."

Richards' tactic of passing her main rivals in the first 100m replicated the move she had employed in her previous two races. "That's nothing new, she always does that," Sanders said. "But at 200m I had nothing in my legs and I was struggling. Maybe it was the wind or that I was running my second race in three days. It's been like a mini-championships."

Both Britons will compete again against Richards at the lucrative World Athletics final in Stuttgart next weekend.

Marlon Devonish will also be in Stuttgart, having ended a highly successful Golden League season by coming within one hundredth of a second of victory in yesterday's 100m, when he finished runner-up to Norway's Jaysuma Saidy Ndure.

The European Under-23 200m bronze medallist Rikki Fifton lowered his personal best by 0.03sec in finishing a surprise third in 10.17sec.

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