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Women’s 400m- Gold and Silver for Britain

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Ohuruogu and Sanders

29 August 2007


A quite incredible race saw Christine Ohuruogu (Newham & Essex) and Nicola Sanders (Windsor, Slough, Eton & Hounslow) record a superb British 1-2 in a World Championship final.


Both had looked highly impressive when winning their semi finals on Monday and brilliantly they upped their game further still for Wednesday’s final, both setting new PBs in the process.


Both ran well measured races, stayed strong on the home straight and though Novlene Williams (Jamaica) held the lead right up until the final 10 metres, the Brits timed their charge to perfection, with Ohuruogu dipping for gold in 49.61, team mate Sanders snatching silver in 49.65, with bronze medallist Williams just a single hundredth back.


Afterwards, Ohuruogu, who only just returned to competition on 6 August after serving a year’s suspension for missing three out-of-competition dope tests said: “This is what I’ve been working towards. I’ve very surprised, because when you don’t race, you don’t know what’s there.


“But I’m happy that I kept my head down and I worked. I owed myself to keep on working and I’m glad I did that. I believe that no matter what happens to you. No matter what rubbish happens something’s always going to come out at the end.


“It might not have been this year, but I just knew that somewhere down the line something would happen for the better. I know I work hard and when you’ve done nothing wrong and you’re an honest person, God will smile at you and make something work out at the end.


“There were very many moments of despair, but I don’t think I would have ever forgiven myself if I hadn’t stuck it through.  I’m just proud of myself that I kept on working and I did what people thought I never could have done.


“I’m proud I kept my head down and I worked. I set myself goals. I said ‘you know Chris, you’ve got a talent, you’ve got to work at it’ and I did. I came out here having raced once. I came back from Scotland and I wasn’t very happy, I ran a 53 and just thought with all the training I’ve been doing I should be running faster than that.


“But I kept training, kept working, kept my spirits up and I always had my coach supporting me.  It’s not so much the winning. I think if I had come second or fourth, I’m just glad I got to the final like I planned.


“I didn’t run it as I meant to run it. My coach (Lloyd Cowan) had a race plan and I was a bit behind, but I just thought I’ll settle for third. Third’s alright. But then my coach flashed into my head and said: ‘Don’t leave anything. Don’t leave anything on the track, use every little last bit you have.’


That’s when I realised I had a bit more to go. I know it’s a real cliché, but it’s nice to have a happy ending.”


Sanders said: “I think maybe on the first 200, I let them get away a tiny bit. That was kind of my race plan I wanted to have plenty left at the end. Then I had quite a lot to do. I think I caught up with them on the top bend.


“I wanted just to concentrate on the finish, but I couldn’t help look around and try to chase them down and in the last five metres I just tensed up and lunged for the line. Couldn’t have asked for any better than first and second, obviously I’d liked it to have been the other way round, but I’m chuffed.


“I think being injured was a blessing in disguise because I’m feeling really strong at the moment. I’ve got two days off now to get over the shock and build myself up again for the relay.” 


For more news and photographs from the 11th IAAF World Championships click here