World Championships: Christine Ohuruogu and Shara Proctor heat up their medal prospects

 

Moscow

As captain's runs go, it was not bad for starters. Appointed skipper of the British team for the World Championships, Christine Ohuruogu got her campaign to reclaim the 400 metres title off to an impressively assured start yesterday, winning her first-round heat with ease – and with the fastest time of the day.

The 29-year-old Londoner did no more than was necessary to re-endorse her credentials as a serious contender for the one-lap crown she won six years ago in Osaka. She entered the home straight half a yard down on US champion Natasha Hastings but eased past her to win in 50.20sec.

Clearly, Ohuruogu has a lot more in the tank and her rivals will be wary of both her form and her propensity for rising to the big occasion. Amantle Montsho of Boswana won the title in Daegu two years ago and is seeking to become only the second woman to successfully defend it, following the great Cathy Freeman. She won her heat in 50.75.

"I'm just happy to get through to the next round," Ohuruogu said as she rushed away from the arena. "I need to go back and talk to my coach and get my breath back, but I'm happy."

The 2008 Olympic champion and 2012 silver medallist will be back on the Luzhniki Stadium track today for the 400m semi-finals. The final of the one-lap event is tomorrow.

The final of the women's long jump is today and Shara Proctor goes into it with the best mark from the qualifying round, having topped the order with 6.85m yesterday.

Not that the 23-year-old native Anguillan will be counting on a medal of any colour before it is won. Twelve months ago she qualified for the Olympic final with the best mark but missed out on the medals, finishing down in ninth.

The 2012 world indoor bronze medallist needed just the one jump to achieve the 6.75m qualifying standard. "That's all it needed," she said.

"That's what I tried to do today: just go out there and get one jump in, but it's surprising I got 6.85m when I was so far behind the board.

"All I have to do now is go back home and relax and get ready for the final. I've taken a different approach this year. In previous years I've put way too much pressure on myself. Now I just treat it like any other meet and I stay relaxed.

"A medal is my target, and seven metres. Those are my two targets and seven metres should get me a medal."

Proctor will be the sole Briton in the final, team-mate Lorraine Ugen having fouled her three attempts yesterday.

"I need to work on my run-ups a bit more," she reflected. "I was hoping that I'd sorted out my no-jump problem but there is obviously some work to do to get behind the boards. I just kept on fouling, I couldn't tell you why."

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