Ohuruogu targets 'full set of medals'

Mike Rowbottom
Wednesday 20 August 2008 15:14
Comments

Having earned Commonwealth, world and now Olympic 400m gold medals at the age of 24, Christine Ohuruogu is faced with a large question: what does she do for an encore?

The answer - she aims to defend her world title next year, and will then seek to emulate Sally Gunnell by completing her collection of titles at the 2009 European Championships. "I'm looking to go for the full set," she announced today .

By her own admission, she was struggling to come to terms with what she had achieved less than 24 hours earlier. "Maybe it will take me until I retire to realise what I have done," she mused, before breaking into one of her sudden, loud, loopy laughs.

Given the way she hunted down the flagging American favourite Sanya Richards in the final here, Ohuruogu has every chance of succeeding in an ambition which would establish her even more firmly as one of the greatest female British athletes of all time.

The next big question will be: what kind of an impact will she make at the London 2012 Olympics, which will take place five minutes away from the house where she was brought up in Stratford?

She has all the credentials to be the 2012 poster girl, in the manner of Cathy Freeman at the Sydney 2000 Olympics, but the one-year ban she served for failing to be present according to schedule on three occasions when random dope-testers arrived has vexed that issue.

"My job is just to go out and run - everything else is just a bonus," she said. "Defending an Olympic title at home - that would be pressure for anyone. But I would love to be there," she said, adding with a grin: "And if I'm not there, my little sister will be."

Ohuruogu, one of eight children, believes her 15-year-old sister Vicky, who is a member of the Newham 2012 Club, has serious potential. "She'll be better than me, I reckon. That's what they say."

Before the previous night's 400m final it seemed clear that Richards was on edge, while Ohurougu was composed.

Not so, the Briton maintained yesterday. "I thought Sanya seemed very calm in the warm-up area," she said. "It has an effect when you think that someone is that confident when the rest of us are wetting ourselves. I wasn't at my best. After my semi-final I didn't sleep well for two nights, and I felt like I was getting a headache, and it was hot, and it was the final....everything was getting to me."

Being drawn in lane 4, three places inside Richards, proved important to the Briton in that it prevented her getting a clear view of the American as, long hair streaming backwards and arms pumping in what looked like long evening gloves - sadly this Cinderella never got to the ball - she did exactly what she had been told not to do by her coach and went out at killing pace, reaching the halfway point in just over 22 seconds.

"I think it would have messed up my mind completely if she'd done that from the next lane to me," Ohuruogu said. "I watched a recording and I realised I was quite far down coming out of the bend. If I'd known that while I was running I think I think I would have panicked a bit. But Sanya panicked, and that's why she tensed up. It's the worst thing you can do in a race."

The best thing Ohuruogu's coach Lloyd Cowan can do now is to tell her she has no chance of matching Gunnell's achievement. "I like a challenge," she said. "When you're told you can't do something and then you go out and do it - that's what I get kicks out of."

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in