Improving Ohuruogu can repeat Beijing brilliance in 400m final
The women’s 400m final takes place on Sunday evening with Team GB hoping that some of Saturday’s magic can rub off on the reigning Olympic champion, Christine Ohuruogu.
The Beijing winner has had a tough time of it in the last four years, suffering a number of problems with injury and disqualification for a false start at the World Championships in Daegu in 2011.
In that time her American rival Sanya Richards-Ross has re-established herself as the number one 400m runner in the world, claiming World Indoor gold in Turkey earlier this year.
Richards-Ross remains openly sore about her shock loss to the Brit in Beijing four years ago, and is out for revenge, even going so far as to claim that Ohuruogu is not a legitimate contender.
But after a semi-final that saw Ohuruogu run a season’s best time of 50.22, Richards-Ross – who ran 50.07 – might be rethinking her claim. Richards-Ross is the clear favourite to take her first Olympic individual gold medal (she’s a double Olympic relay champion) at 4/7, but Ohuruogu has timed her return to form to near perfection.
She won at the Grand Prix in Crystal Palace in July, defeating current world champion Amantle Montsho (9/1 to win) in the process. A year earlier she came dead last at the same venue.
In the semi-final in London on Saturday, she only just failed to catch Richards-Ross down the home straight but the sight of Ohuruogu powering down the last 50 metres would have been an all-too-familiar one for the American.
Should the reigning Olympic champion continue her upward curve and stay within reasonable distance of the favourite again this evening, the now infamous roar of the Olympic Stadium could well be enough to propel her past Richards-Ross this time round and become the first woman to retain the 400m since Marie-Jose Perec in 1992.
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