World Athletics Championships: Christine Ohuruogu looks forward in her history quest

Olympic silver medalist will be gunning for gold in Moscow

Moscow

In her rallying speech to the British track and field troops on the eve of the World Championships, Christine Ohuruogu, the designated captain, chose not to delve into the past for inspiration and instead urged her team-mates (among them, her 20-year-old sister Victoria, a fellow member of the 4 x 400m relay squad) to concentrate on “burning ships,” as she put it: leaving nothing behind in the quest to make a mark in the here and now.

It just so happens that the Muscovite arena where the Uhuorugos and Co will be competing from this morning – formerly Lenin Stadium, now the Luzhniki Stadium – was the setting for one of the great British athletics shows of time gone by: when Steve Ovett, Sebastian Coe, Allan Wells and Daley Thompson all struck gold at the boycott-affected Olympic Games of 1980. The elder Ohuruogu was not born until 1984, so she can perhaps be excused not dwelling on those past conquests here in the Russian capital. In any case, she stands to make history of her own in the next three days.

No British woman has ever won two World Championship title and only two men have achieved the feat: Colin Jackson and Jonathan Edwards, once of hurdling and triple jumping fame, now of television presenting and punditry renown. They both claimed their crowns six years apart – Jackson in Stuttgart in 1993 and Seville in 1999, Edwards in Gothenburg in 1995 and Edmonton in 2001.

It is six summers now since Ohuruogu emerged from the 12 month ban she served because of three missed drug tests to win the 400m in stunning style in Osaka. Since then, the 29-year-old Londoner has won Olympic gold and silver and overcome a career-threatening quadriceps injury. Amantle Montsho of Botswana goes into the first round heats today as the woman to beat; she is the reigning champion and leads the world rankings with a time of 49.33sec.  The British captain, however, is in the best pre-championship form of her life.

At the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games on home ground a month ago the East Ender pulled clear of a Diamond League field to win in 50.00sec, her quickest one-lap time outside of the Olympics or World Championships. “It's the fastest time I've ever run going into a championships, so it looks good,” Ohuruogu said.

Asked if she might have peaked too soon, she replied: “If I didn't believe there was more to come I'd just keep myself at home. There wouldn't be any point in me being here. Hopefully there is more in the tank, and I think there is.”

Twelve months ago Ohuruogu emerged from three years of injury struggles to take silver behind Sanya Richards-Ross of the USA, who is absent from the field here. “I think a lot of the British athletes learned from London 2012,” she reflected. ”It was one of the hardest situations we’ll ever have to deal with

“I learned that if I keep my head strong and my faith then I will deliver regardless. I think in

2012 nobody thought that I was going to medal but I didn't really care.

“What mattered was what I thought. And I believed I could medal. I even believed I could go ahead and win it.

“Even though I had three years out, I could still prove to myself that if I keep believing and keep my trust and my faith then I will do a good job. And I did.”

The captain’s first job here comes at 3.13pm British time. She has been drawn in heat two – in lane six of the Moscow track where Ovett, Coe, Wells and Thompson did Britain proud precisely one-tthird of a century ago.

Mission to Moscow: Five up-and-coming Brits at the worlds

Jessica Judd (800m)

Judd has burst on to the scene in a major way this season with victory at the European Team Championships in Gateshead followed by a Diamond League win in Birmingham. A calf problem at the trials curtailed the 18-year-old, who is expecting her A level results while she is in Moscow, but she is fit again for the Worlds.

Delano Williams (200m)

Seen as one of the most exciting talents in global sprinting, the 19-year-old from Turks and Caicos, now running in a British vest, was just 0.02secs outside Usain Bolt’s Jamaican Boys and Girls Championships record for the 200m.

Victoria Ohuruogu (4x400m relay)

The 20-year-old is the younger sister of Christine and, while not quite of the same prowess as her sibling over one lap of the track, she has also impressed climbing up the ranks.

Sophie Hitchon (hammer)

Just 22, Hitchon is the British record holder and a previous world junior champion. Last month she became European Under-23 champion.

Deji Tobais (4x100m relay)

Of the crop of up-and-coming British sprinting talent, Adam Gemili is the best known, although Tobais ran him relatively close to take the silver to Gemili’s gold at the European Under-23s earlier this season.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Customer Accounts Executive

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity for the ...

Recruitment Genius: Team Administrator / Secretary - South East

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time Administrator/Secreta...

Recruitment Genius: Parts Advisor

£16500 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the leading Mercedes-Ben...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer

£27500 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Why the cost of parenting has become so expensive

Why the cost of parenting has become so expensive

Today's pre-school child costs £35,000, according to Aviva. And that's but the tip of an iceberg, says DJ Taylor
Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US