Athletics: Richards determined to regain crown

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The Independent Online

Sanya Richards has two reasons for wanting to beat Britain's world 400m champion Christine Ohuruogu at the Weltklasse meeting in Zurich tonight – but neither of them have anything to do with doping offences.

While Ohuruogu admitted yesterday that her experience since winning gold in Osaka had been "up and down" because of criticism she received after returning to action last month following a year's ban for missing three drug tests, her American rival made it clear that she was more than happy to race against an athlete whom she does not consider a cheat.

Richards, nevertheless, will be eager to earn victory at a re-vamped Letzigrund Stadium, given that her hopes of living up to her position as the world's No1 400m runner in Japan were ruined by her failure to qualify at the US trials.

The 2006 World Athlete of the Year also requires a win to keep her in the running for a share of the $1m [£510,000] jackpot on offer to athletes who win their events in all six Golden League meetings.

Ohuruogu is determined to give a good account of herself in what will be her first meeting with Richards this season, but she is resigned to the fact that she will never be entirely clear of suspicion in some people's eyes after her suspension.

Asked yesterday what life had been like since her triumph in Japan, she responded: "I'll be honest, very up and down. I'm going to have to deal with it if I want to run. I think I'm beginning to realise that nobody is ever going to draw a line – people will hang on to what they believe no matter what. I'll do my best to change that, but I don't think it's ever going to fully work. I'm very happy to be here though, and I'm going to go out there and enjoy it because I've only watched this on TV."

Victory would net Ohuruogu a $25,000 first prize, which would help in her campaign to convince the British Olympic Association to heed her appeal against their current position banning her from all future Games.

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