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Ohuruogu annoyed by focus on past

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Interview: Britain's Christine Ohuruogu

By Claire Stocks
BBC Sport in Beijing


Britain's Christine Ohuruogu insisted nothing could spoil her moment of glory after winning the Olympic 400m title.

Ohuruogu won the 2007 world title after returning from a ban for missing three drug tests, and reacted tetchily to questions on the subject in Beijing.

"Why should it be spoilt unless someone tries to spoil it?" she told her post-race news conference.

"I'm very happy with what I've done - three medals from three major championships so nothing can spoil it."

Asked what she had to say to people who thought she should not be at the Olympics, she replied: "I don't care what people think or say. I'm happy - I've won a gold medal, and that's all that matters to me."

Ohuruogu, who is the first British woman to win the Olympic 400m title, was born and brought up in east London and is now set to be one of the faces of the 2012 Games.

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But she was clearly frustrated that in her moment of triumph she was not given the credit she felt she deserved for bringing a much-needed gold to Britain's beleaguered track and field team, and beating pre-race favourite Sanya Richards.

Flanked by a glum-faced Richards, who finished third, and bubbly Jamaican Shericka Williams, delighted with another track medal for the small island country, Ohuruogu stuck her chin out and batted back leading questions with barely-contained irritation.

"Sorry, but I don't know what you mean by 'not having ideal preparation'," she said in frustration to the first interviewer.

Christine Ohuruogu is congratulated by friends in the crowd
Ohuruogu ran a gutsy final 100m to snatch gold on the line

Asked whether she had had nightmares about not reaching the start line, she took an impatient breath before replying starkly: "No, I did not."

As the atmosphere in the newsroom prickled, Ohuruogu tried to put the focus back on all the hard work she had put in over the last 12 months.

"I'm very proud that we have a gold medal in athletics, proud of myself. I've kept my head up and kept working."

Earlier she had told reporters: "It's not luck, I worked damn hard for this.

"I might not always get the best start, I might not always be the fastest person, but I just say, 'If you are going to beat me you are going to have to fight very hard.'

"The final is about who has the biggest will to get to the line. That's life, you have to learn to ride the ups as well as the downs."

After winning a Commonwealth gold in 2006, Ohuruogu had been barred on a provisional basis by UK Athletics for failing to attend three dope tests across an 18-month period.

Christine Ohuruogu
Ohuruogu is the first British woman to win 400m gold

Ohuruogu said changes to her training timetable had forced her to miss the tests.

But in September 2006 it was confirmed that she would be banned from competing for 12 months - and faced a lifetime ban from the Olympics under British Olympic Association rules.

After the ban expired in August 2007, she was included in the GB squad for the World Championships in Osaka and won the 400m despite the 12-month break.

She then went on to win an appeal to the BOA against her Olympics ban and was therefore allowed to compete in Beijing.

Ohuruogu admitted it had been "quite a journey getting here", and her delight showed as she jumped up and down on the medal podium.

"It was really hard getting here; I'm happy I stuck to my guns and believed in myself.

(Stratford) is literally on my doorstep and 15 minutes away from where my parents live and where I was brought up and lived all my life, so yes it would be great if I got to London 2012

Christine Ohuruogu

"I'd have never forgiven myself if I had not kept on working."

Asked if she expected to win gold, she said: "Yes I did. Winning the World Championships is not luck, it's down to my hard work.

"When it comes to it, I can really work and focus. My coach always says, 'All you train for is three days and if you cannot concentrate and focus your mind on those three days then what is all the training for?'

"That's all I train for throughout the year. I hope it is something other athletes can learn from.

"I'm always a positive person, no matter what, things will always turn out for the best. I believe I'm destined for great things and that's what keeps me going. I just get my head down and work."

The 24-year-old first took up the 400m event at Newham and Essex Beagles Athletic Club, which also produced double gold-winning decathlete Daley Thompson, in August 2000.

Bob Smith, the club's chairman, said: "She's level-headed and surrounded by good people - she will keep her feet on the ground.

"She has had her trials and tribulations and she knows how to treat it."

The 24-year-old, from Stratford in east London where the 2012 Olympic Park is being built, says she is now excited at the prospect of competing "on her doorstep" in front of her home crowd.

"It is a long way away - it's four years. But it (Stratford) is literally on my doorstep and 15 minutes away from where my parents live and where I was brought up and lived all my life, so yes it would be great if I got there," said Ohuruogu.

"That would be quite something to come out on the track and compete in front of my home fans....Cathy Freeman all over again!" added Ohuruogu, referring to the Australian icon who produced one of the great Olympic moments when winning the 400m title in Sydney in 2000.


Athletics medals table

Sunday, 24 August 2008 10:17 UK
Rank Country Gold Silver Bronze TOTAL
1 also show each event results forUSA 7 9 7 23
Men's 100m 0 0 1
Men's 110m Hurdles 0 1 1
Men's 200m 0 1 1
Men's 400m 1 1 1
Men's 400m Hurdles 1 1 1
Men's 4 x 400m Relay 1 0 0
Men's Decathlon 1 0 0
Men's Shot Put 0 1 0
Women's 10000m 0 0 1
Women's 100m Hurdles 1 0 0
Women's 200m 0 1 0
Women's 400m 0 0 1
Women's 400m Hurdles 0 1 0
Women's 4 x 400m Relay 1 0 0
Women's Discus Throw 1 0 0
Women's Heptathlon 0 1 0
Women's Pole Vault 0 1 0
2 also show each event results forRussia 6 5 7 18
Men's 20km Walk 1 0 0
Men's 4 x 400m Relay 0 0 1
Men's 50km Walk 0 0 1
Men's High Jump 1 0 1
Men's Pole Vault 0 1 0
Women's 20km Walk 1 0 0
Women's 3000m Steeplechase 1 0 1
Women's 4 x 100m Relay 1 0 0
Women's 4 x 400m Relay 0 1 0
Women's Heptathlon 0 0 1
Women's High Jump 0 0 1
Women's Javelin Throw 0 1 0
Women's Long Jump 0 1 0
Women's Pole Vault 1 0 1
Women's Triple Jump 0 1 0
3 also show each event results forJamaica 6 3 2 11
Men's 100m 1 0 0
Men's 200m 1 0 0
Men's 4 x 100m Relay 1 0 0
Women's 100m 1 2 0
Women's 200m 1 0 1
Women's 400m 0 1 0
Women's 400m Hurdles 1 0 0
Women's 4 x 400m Relay 0 0 1
4 also show each event results forKenya 5 5 4 14
Men's 10000m 0 0 1
Men's 1500m 0 1 0
Men's 3000m Steeplechase 1 0 1
Men's 5000m 0 1 1
Men's 800m 1 0 1
Men's Marathon 1 0 0
Women's 1500m 1 0 0
Women's 3000m Steeplechase 0 1 0
Women's 800m 1 1 0
Women's Marathon 0 1 0
5 also show each event results forEthiopia 4 1 2 7
Men's 10000m 1 1 0
Men's 5000m 1 0 0
Men's Marathon 0 0 1
Women's 10000m 1 0 0
Women's 5000m 1 0 1
6 also show each event results forBelarus 1 3 3 7
Men's Decathlon 0 1 0
Men's Hammer Throw 0 1 1
Men's Shot Put 0 0 1
Women's Hammer Throw 1 0 0
Women's Shot Put 0 1 1
7 also show each event results forCuba 1 2 2 5
Men's 110m Hurdles 1 0 0
Men's Decathlon 0 0 1
Men's Long Jump 0 0 1
Women's Discus Throw 0 1 0
Women's Hammer Throw 0 1 0
8 also show each event results forAustralia 1 2 1 4
Men's 20km Walk 0 0 1
Men's 50km Walk 0 1 0
Men's Pole Vault 1 0 0
Women's 100m Hurdles 0 1 0
9 also show each event results forGreat Britain 1 2 1 4
Men's High Jump 0 1 0
Men's Triple Jump 0 1 0
Women's 400m 1 0 0
Women's 400m Hurdles 0 0 1
10 also show each event results forUkraine 1 1 3 5
Men's Pole Vault 0 0 1
Women's 1500m 0 1 1
Women's Discus Throw 0 0 1
Women's Heptathlon 1 0 0
11 also show each event results forBelgium 1 1 0 2
Women's 4 x 100m Relay 0 1 0
Women's High Jump 1 0 0
12 also show each event results forNorway 1 1 0 2
Men's Javelin Throw 1 0 0
Women's 20km Walk 0 1 0
13 also show each event results forPoland 1 1 0 2
Men's Discus Throw 0 1 0
Men's Shot Put 1 0 0
14 also show each event results forItaly 1 0 1 2
Men's 50km Walk 1 0 0
Women's 20km Walk 0 0 1
15 also show each event results forNew Zealand 1 0 1 2
Men's 1500m 0 0 1
Women's Shot Put 1 0 0
16 also show each event results forBahrain 1 0 0 1
Men's 1500m 1 0 0
17 also show each event results forBrazil 1 0 0 1
Women's Long Jump 1 0 0
18 also show each event results forCameroon 1 0 0 1
Women's Triple Jump 1 0 0
19 also show each event results forCzech Republic 1 0 0 1
Women's Javelin Throw 1 0 0
20 also show each event results forEstonia 1 0 0 1
Men's Discus Throw 1 0 0
21 also show each event results forPanama 1 0 0 1
Men's Long Jump 1 0 0
22 also show each event results forPortugal 1 0 0 1
Men's Triple Jump 1 0 0
23 also show each event results forRomania 1 0 0 1
Women's Marathon 1 0 0
24 also show each event results forSlovenia 1 0 0 1
Men's Hammer Throw 1 0 0
25 also show each event results forTrinidad & Tob 0 2 0 2
Men's 100m 0 1 0
Men's 4 x 100m Relay 0 1 0
26 also show each event results forTurkey 0 2 0 2
Women's 10000m 0 1 0
Women's 5000m 0 1 0
27 also show each event results forBahamas 0 1 1 2
Men's 4 x 400m Relay 0 1 0
Men's Triple Jump 0 0 1
28 also show each event results forMorocco 0 1 1 2
Men's Marathon 0 1 0
Women's 800m 0 0 1
29 also show each event results forCroatia 0 1 0 1
Women's High Jump 0 1 0
30 also show each event results forEcuador 0 1 0 1
Men's 20km Walk 0 1 0
31 also show each event results forFrance 0 1 0 1
Men's 3000m Steeplechase 0 1 0
32 also show each event results forLatvia 0 1 0 1
Men's Javelin Throw 0 1 0
33 also show each event results forSouth Africa 0 1 0 1
Men's Long Jump 0 1 0
34 also show each event results forSudan 0 1 0 1
Men's 800m 0 1 0
35 also show each event results forChina 0 0 2 2
Women's Hammer Throw 0 0 1
Women's Marathon 0 0 1
36 also show each event results forNigeria 0 0 2 2
Women's 4 x 100m Relay 0 0 1
Women's Long Jump 0 0 1
37 also show each event results forCanada 0 0 1 1
Women's 100m Hurdles 0 0 1
38 also show each event results forFinland 0 0 1 1
Men's Javelin Throw 0 0 1
39 also show each event results forGermany 0 0 1 1
Women's Javelin Throw 0 0 1
40 also show each event results forGreece 0 0 1 1
Women's Triple Jump 0 0 1
41 also show each event results forJapan 0 0 1 1
Men's 4 x 100m Relay 0 0 1
42 also show each event results forLithuania 0 0 1 1
Men's Discus Throw 0 0 1

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see also
Ohuruogu grabs gold for Britain
19 Aug 08 |  Athletics
GB Olympic bans not 'rock solid'
21 Jul 08 |  Athletics
Brits to watch: Christine Ohuruogu
04 Aug 08 |  Olympics
Ohuruogu claims gold for Britain
29 Aug 07 |  Athletics
Ban 'almost destroyed' Ohuruogu
08 Jun 07 |  Athletics
Athletes warned over Olympic bans
17 Dec 07 |  Olympics
Olympics blog
07 Aug 08 |  Olympics
Beijing 2008
14 Feb 08 |  Olympics
Find your local athletics club
13 Oct 05 |  Get Involved


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