19th September 2013

On Track With Christine Ohuruogu

19 September 2013

Christine Ohuruogu (coach: Lloyd Cowan) will always be regarded as one of Great Britain’s best ever athletes after she won her second 400m world title in Moscow last month, setting a new British record of 49.41 in the process. The 29 year old, who won Olympic gold in Beijing in 2008 and Olympic silver in London last summer, reflects on her experience in the Russian capital fondly.

“It was great,” she said. “It’s weird to look back, I think I’m still in my bubble and I’ll probably stay there for a bit. I’ve not really allowed myself too much time to think about it properly. I was still racing so I didn’t allow myself to get too excited but the season is over now and now that I’ve got the chance I don’t really know what to do with myself.”

The Newham and Essex Beagle insists that she is yet to watch the video of her dramatic gold medal winning race, in which she dipped Amantle Montsho of Botswana on the finish line to take the victory by just four thousandths of a second.

“I haven’t watched it back, maybe in a couple of years – I’m a bit strange like that! For me it’s enough just to know that I’ve done it, I don’t have to dissect it and think about what I’ve done. It’s cool to just know that it’s over and that I’ve done it.”

The 2008 Olympic champion was trusted with the role of GB & NI team captain in Moscow by performance director Neil Black and Ohuruogu sees it as a real honour to have led her British teammates.

“It was great to be team captain,” she continued. “Apart from winning I think it was one of the best things I’ve done. I really do think that it’s such a great honour to have that role and I think every athlete should aim to be in a position where you can get that kind of responsibility. It was really good for me.”

Ohuruogu finished her season with a run out over 150m at the Great CityGames in the North East last weekend and is now looking forward to a break from training before refocusing for another important year in 2014.

“I’m on my end of season break at the moment, but now it’s winter and I’m not looking forward to winter training. Me and my sister were talking about it and just the thought of it made me think ‘how on earth do we do that?’ When it’s freezing, you can taste blood and everything hurts.

“It’s a big year next year with the Europeans, Commonwealths and World Indoor Championships so it’s a great opportunity for a lot of the athletes who maybe didn’t get what they wanted in London or Moscow to put themselves back on it before building up to the next World Championships. If it’s used wisely it’s a superb opportunity with two chances.”

With two major international championships taking place next year, Ohuruogu is yet to decide whether to turn her attention to the European Championships in Zurich or the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

She said: “I haven’t decided yet which one I will do, I’ll do something but I don’t know which yet – I can’t do everything.”

Ohuruogu’s passion for inspiring the next generation of athletics champions was evident as she took part in the launch of a new compact athletics facility at Stoke Newington School in Hackney, East London. The facility is the first of its kind and the only athletics track in the Hackney borough and she believes it will play an important role in getting the local community into athletics.

“I think it’s really good to come and see how it impacts the kids first hand rather than just hear about it and assume it impacts them. It’s good to see how they can actually use it, what they think about it and what they can see themselves using it for.

“Some of the kids have got sessions and things planned in their minds and it’s really good to see that. It puts athletics at the forefront of their minds and now they have a buzz for running.”

“They all wanted to race me and they got so excited, for the rest of the day they will be buzzing and will want to go and get to a track and get faster.”