LEGEND: Christine Ohuruogu
ANYONE THAT had written off 400m legend Christine Ohuruogu had better think again. The former Olympic, world and Commonwealth champion over one lap endured a desperate 2016 which culminated in a semi-final exit in her chosen event at the Rio Olympics.
The Newham & Essex Beagle recorded 51.22 seconds in Brazil and most good judges considered that we had seen the last of her on the sport’s big stage.
Nothing could be further from the truth. After a well deserved break and career re-assessment, the affable Briton is raring to go once again.
She told the Voice of Sport: “I don’t want a year like last year. I did plan to retire with the end of the Olympic cycle. Even though London 2012 was at home I thought I could still get a little bit more out of myself in 2016 mentally and physically.
“I had to look back at the year and realized that I made a hash of things, I was probably working too hard. In the twilight years you have to work a bit smarter. I can’t be training like I’m 20. And you have to enjoy what you do and last year I didn’t. Put it this way, by the time March had come I was ready for the season to be done!
Her Rio unraveling and time was in stark contrast to an athlete who has won it all and registered a personal best of 49.41 seconds in her pomp.
“It was me [the run in Brazil] but it wasn’t how I like to run. That’s not how I want to go out. It wasn’t about what other people saw but more a case of how I felt. I love the sport and it is not how I wanted to finish.”
As if to prove that she’s not quite done, Ohuruogu anchored Team GB to 4x400m relay bronze in Rio.
Now for the last hurrah. “I’ve taken a different approach this year. I do a lot less training and have my weekends back. I’ve mapped everything out and I’m happy with everything so far. I had to redress the balance, it was too training intensive in 2016 which was bad for me mentally.”
ALL SMILES: Ohuruogu with Lycamobile's CEO, Chris Tooley
Away from the track, Ohuruogu has become a trustee for the British Ethnic Diversity Sports Awards (BEDSAs) which take place in central London on March 18.
The awards, which are now in their third year, are organised by Sporting Equals, the national partner of Sport England and advisors to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.
Sponsored by Lycamobile, the world’s largest mobile virtual network operator, the Awards are leading the way in recognising and celebrating sporting excellence within Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities.