Ohuruogu tops Palace bill
Thursday 24 July 2008
For Christine Ohuruogu, the lone outdoor world champion in the British track and field team preparing for the Olympics, the send-off at the Palace tomorrow is sure to be cathartic.
Twelve months ago the east Londoner did not receive an invitation to the annual grand prix meeting at Crystal Palace. She was serving the final days of her year-long suspension for missing three drug tests. It was at the same meeting in July the previous year that she was notified of the third miss that sealed her fate.
She had just finished last in the 400 metres and when she saw Dave Collins, the performance director of UK Athletics, approaching she thought he was about to inform her that she had been dropped from the British team for the European Championships.
Ohuruogu had indeed been demoted from the team – and from all events for 12 months thereafter. She was also subject to the British Olympic Association by-law precluding athletes who have transgressed the anti-doping laws from selection for the Games, until she won an appeal last November.
She enters tomorrow's 400m as a world title holder, having struck gold in Osaka last August. That victory in Japan was not celebrated with unreserved joy at home but Ohuruogu is immune to the prospect of more criticism. "I have learnt to respect what I do and to take pride in what I do and how hard I work," she said. "Whether anyone wants to support me or not doesn't really bother me."
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