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World Championships 2007
25 August - 2 September




UK Athletics performance director Dave Collins and 400m champion Christine Ohuruogu
Collins has hailed Ohuruogu as a "hero" after her 400m success
Britain's athletes are on track for next summer's Olympic Games after a positive World Championships, says UK Athletics chief Dave Collins.

Collins had set the squad a target of three medals and 14 top-eight finishes but the team claimed five medals and 13 athletes inside the top-eight in Japan.

"We've made progress, and we'll be back next year punching above our weight," the UK performance director said.

"There is still a long way to go, but we will push hard over the winter."

Britain took individual gold in the women's 400m thanks to Christine Ohuruogu, who made an instant return to the squad after serving a one-year ban for missing three out-of-competition drugs tests.

Nicola Sanders took 400m silver while Kelly Sotherton got the medal tally rolling with her heptathlon bronze.

I can't understand why we can't get behind people who are heroes

Dave Collins on Christine Ohuruogu

The men's 4x100m and women's 4x400m relay teams added further bronzes on the final weekend in Japan, to match their performances in Helsinki two years ago.

At the 2005 Worlds, Paula Radcliffe's marathon gold was the only individual medal in the British squad.

Collins told BBC Sport: "I'm fantastically proud of the team, they have knuckled down and it's really been tremendous.

"We are trying to generate an environment where athletes are proud of wearing the British vest and who show commitment.

"From the first to the last in Osaka they wanted to give it a go. Of course, there are people who have had disappointing results and there are things to work on, but we are making progress."

606: DEBATE

Collins also hit back at the criticism levelled against Ohuruogu after she returned in the same month her ban expired to claim a spectacular 400m gold.

The 23-year-old runner has faced accusations that her gold has been tainted by her ban for missing three drugs tests - technically a doping offence.

"I can't understand why we can't get behind people who are heroes," said Collins.

"There is a difference between someone who has been found guilty of the offence of knowingly taking drugs to improve performance and someone who is guilty of a procedural misnomer.

"With our partners in UK Sport, we have one of the most stringent testing systems in the world.

"If only the same rigour was applied around the world you might see a more level playing field and our medal count might go up a bit."

SEE ALSO
British women snatch relay bronze
02 Sep 07 |  Athletics
Britain claim sprint relay bronze
01 Sep 07 |  Athletics
Ohuruogu defends gold medal win
30 Aug 07 |  Athletics
Ohuruogu claims gold for Britain
29 Aug 07 |  Athletics
Sotherton wins heptathlon bronze
26 Aug 07 |  Athletics


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