Ohuruogu ready to wind down following 'indifferent' season

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The Independent Online

The Olympic 400 metres champion, Christine Ohuruogu, is hoping to end an "indifferent" season by captaining England to victory at the Great North City Games today.

Ohuruogu could have continued on the IAAF World Athletics Tour, which moves this weekend from Europe, and competed at the Shanghai Grand Prix for the third successive year tomorrow. However, after another intensive outdoor campaign, which began in April in California, the 25-year-old Londoner decided there had been enough long-haul travelling and was happy to accept an invitation to lead England against Australia.

"It's been a long season and I think it would be better for me to wind down and prepare for next year," Ohuruogu said before the inaugural street match featuring 11 events on the Newcastle and Gateshead quaysides.

Ohuruogu, who will compete over 150m, in which she set a UK record of 17.10 seconds in May, admitted her year had not progressed as planned after a good start in the United States where she had an intensive winter training camp.

"My year – very indifferent I think," said Ohuruogu, who finished fifth in last month's World Championships 400m final.

"I started well but I lost a lot of momentum halfway through and I'm realising now that, at the level I compete, it's a lot harder than everyone thinks to play catch-up."

However, Ohuruogu still feels she made the correct decision to compete in Berlin after a hamstring injury restricted her to just three flat-out training sessions in the three weeks leading up to the championships.

"It's unfortunate that I didn't have enough training to get a medal, but I made the final and that's not bad going at all in my mind," she added.

"As my coach [Lloyd Cowan] said, there was a 50-50 chance of me going. I'm happy that I did the best I could and that I got to the track pretty much as fit as I wanted to be.

"But it's a lot harder, especially when you go in not just to make finals but go in to finish in the top three and win medals.

"It taught me a lot – maybe you have to be more sensible in your planning."

Ohuruogu has still to sit down with Cowan and discuss what her programme will be next year, when the two major meetings from a British perspective are the European Championships in July followed by the Commonwealth Games in October.

"Exactly how it's going to work out we're not too sure yet, but the Europeans are definitely on the cards. The [Commonwealth] Games are also on the cards for now. We'll just have to sit down and plan because it's going to be a very long, long season next year."

The world 1500m silver medallist Lisa Dobriskey will, if she passes a fitness test on a quad strain, be chasing a third successive mile victory on Tyneside, where she will be partnered by Hannah England and Jenny Meadows.

England was a surprise runner-up ahead of Dobriskey at last weekend's World Athletics Final, while Meadows, the world 800m bronze medallist, will contest only the second mile of her career.

The European indoors 3,000m gold medallist Mo Farah, partnered by Andy Baddeley, will also be aiming to score vital points over a mile in the street confrontation, for which Australia have flown in a team of 26 highly talented athletes.