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Ohuruogu Opens 2009

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Christine Ohuruogu
Ohuruogu - busy weekend opening up her 2009 competitive account


20 April 2009


Olympic 400m champion Christine Ohuruogu (Newham & Essex) made her first outdoor appearances of 2009 with two sprint doubles in California, where she is currently preparing for an summer season that will see her attempting to defend her World 400m crown in Berlin in August.

Competing at the Brian Clay Invitational in Azusa on Friday, she won over both 100m and 200m in swift times of 11.51 (+2.0m/s) and 23.19 (+1.8m/s). She repeated the feat the following day in at the Long Beach Invitational, on this occasion she recorded times of 11.37 (+2.7m/s) and 23.72 (+2.8m/s). 

The main event of the weekend in California was the Mt SAC Relays in Walnut where several British athletes were in action, including Ohuruogu’s British 400m rival Nicola Sanders (Windsor, Slough, Eton & Hounslow), who was making her first ever competitive appearance over 800m.

The World 400m silver medallist – mistakenly listed in the official results as “Courtney Saunders” - produced an assured performance in her heat to win in 2:03.41. There was a real breakthrough performance from Lee Emanuel (City of Sheffield) who won the men’s 1500m in a PB of 3:37.99.

It puts him in the frame as a contender for a place in the Aviva GB & NI Team for Berlin, for which the 1500m A qualifying standard in 3:36.20. Also at Mt SAC, Olympic semi-finallist Tyrone Edgar (Woodford Green & Essex Ladies) showed he was over the hamstring problems which cut short his indoor season as he won the 100m in 10.20 (+0.9m/s).

At the same meeting, former World 400m finalist Tim Benjamin (Belgrave Harriers) triumphed over 200m in 20.96 (+1.2m/s), GB & NI international Vicki Barr (Rugby & Northampton) won the 400m in 52.92 and European Indoor 60m champion Dwain Chambers (Belgrave Harriers) – racing in a different 200m heat to Benjamin – was 2nd over 200m in 20.51 (no wind reading).


Perhaps the performance of the weekend from a British perspective came from Olympic 4x400m relay member Michael Bingham who won the 400m at the Atlantic Coast Conference Championships in Miami in a PB of 45.32.

The mark is also 0.23secs inside the UKA qualifying mark for Berlin. The 23 year old also won the 400m at the prestigious National Collegiate Athletic Association Championships in Texas in March.


Belgrave Harriers brought all the big guns out for Saturday’s National 12 Stage Road Relays at Sutton Park, Birmingham to storm to the men’s title by a clear five minutes from Newham & Essex Beagles.

Belgrave took the lead from Mark Miles’ third leg and were never headed from there on in, with Phil Wicks also recording the fastest individual long leg of 25:13 (5.39 miles) as the team came home in 4:04:53 to Newham & Essex Beagles’ 4:09.54.

There was a thrilling battle for bronze, with Tipton Harriers’ Mike Buntin just edging out Shettleston Harriers’ Paul Sorrie to finish in 4:11.48, a mere one second ahead of the Scottish challengers. In the women’s six stage race, the gold medal was a closely fought affair with Charnwood just about repelling the charging Aldershot Farnham & District by seven seconds.

Jane Potter brought the Loughborough-based club home in 1:38:14, with Charlotte Purdue close behind after a valiant last leg effort of 15:31 (2.99 miles). Indeed, Purdue’s leg was the second fastest overall, only beaten by club-mate Steph Twell’s effort of 15:15. Bristol & West took bronze in 1:40.44.


GB & NI heptathlete Jessica Ennis (City of Sheffield) proved she is moving closer to full fitness after an ankle injury ruled her out of last year’s Olympic Games as she produced near PB performances in the 100m and javelin and also won the 200m.

She clocked 11.91 to win the 100m, just 0.6 shy of her PB, although no wind reading was available at Sunday’s meet. She also won the 200m in 23.69 and the javelin in 41.97m, just over a metre down on her all-time best.