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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 August 2007, 08:09 GMT 09:09 UK
Ohuruogu handed place in GB squad
Christine Ohuruogu
Ohuruogu will run in the 400m and the 4x400m relay in Osaka
Christine Ohuruogu will make an instant return to international competition at this month's World Championships in Osaka after serving a one-year ban.

She has been picked by Great Britain for the individual 400m and 4x400m relay one day after her ban for missing three out-of-competition tests expired.

Sprinter Mark Lewis-Francis has also been handed the third 100m spot in the second and final wave of selection.

But there is no place for Olympic 4 x 100m gold medallist Jason Gardener.

Gardener, who has announced he will retire at the end of this year and who has failed to reproduce top form this summer, had asked not to be considered for the relay squad.

"I've just found it so difficult to try performing and I've been off the mark all season," said the 31-year-old.

Christine is a world-class athlete who we are happy to select now that she has completed her suspension

UK Athletics performance director Dave Collins

However, former world junior champion Christian Malcolm has been included and his fitness will be monitored at the UK Athletics holding camp in Macau from 10-22 August.

Lewis-Francis, who joins Marlon Devonish and Craig Pickering in the sprint, said he intends to to justify his selection in Japan.

"I'm determined to prove myself when I get there, I'm really motivated," said the 24-year-old.

UK Athletics performance director Dave Collins added: "Mark is a changed athlete. His attitude is much improved.

"Now what we want to do is give him the chance to measure himself at world level. There's more to come yet."

Tim Benjamin has been added to the men's 400m list after proving his fitness when running his fastest time for two years and going top of the UK rankings last Friday.

The selectors have preferred Becky Lyne for the remaining 800m slot ahead of Jenny Meadows, who has beaten her twice over the distance at recent IAAF Grand Prix events.

Lyne was given the nod based on her bronze-medal winning performance at the European Championships last summer, and reports she is improving in training.

Collins said Ohuruogu "is a world-class athlete who we are happy to select now that she has completed her suspension".

"She's certainly not there to make up the numbers," he told BBC Radio Five Live.

"She's there most crucially as a member of the relay squad. She's selected for the 400m flat to give her the opportunity to get race time but she might surprise people.

606: DEBATE
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"I don't want to place too much expectation on an athlete in her circumstance. For me it's important to see her back running and achieving success that's appropriate to her preparation."

Ohuruogu confirmed her potential as a world-class runner when she beat Olympic champion Tonique Darling for the Commonwealth title in March last year.

But five months later she fell foul of the "three strikes" rule and was pulled out of the British team on the eve of the European Championships.

The 23-year-old lost lottery support and other benefits enjoyed by UK athletes, almost prompting her retirement.

"I was pretty close (to giving it all up). I'd be lying if I said I wasn't," said Ohuruogu.

"I was very angry because it happened too fast and I wasn't prepared for that and I didn't think it would have escalated the way it did.

"There was a lot of anger and frustration. I didn't know how I was going to keep on going for the next year.

"But I probably would never have forgiven myself if I had not seen the whole thing through. I couldn't see myself walking away from it."

Ohuruogu is determined to pick up the threads of her career and last week lodged her appeal against the lifetime ban imposed by the British Olympic Association, which prevents her from competing in Beijing next year.

She will run her first race for more than a year at this weekend's Scottish National Championships in Glasgow.

The Commonwealth champion has entered for both the 200m and 400m at the Scotstoun stadium venue.

She explained: "I'm delighted to have an opportunity to race in a quality warm-up which will aid my final preparations before flying out of Glasgow for Japan on Sunday evening."

Ohuruogu's last race was at the London Grand Prix on 27 July last year.

SEE ALSO
Ban 'almost destroyed' Ohuruogu
08 Jun 07 |  Athletics
Ohuruogu stunned by appeal loss
04 Apr 07 |  Athletics
Olympic chief ponders ban change
24 Jul 07 |  Olympics 2012


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