Ohuruogu can defend title, says Felix

Three-time world 200m champion says Christine Ohuruogu will be one of the biggest threats for the Olympic 400m title

Posted on March 30, 2012 by
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Allyson Felix and Christine Ohuruogu (Mark Shearman)

Olympic 400m champion Christine Ohuruogu can return to her best in her defence of her title in London, according to world silver medallist Allyson Felix.

Felix, a three-time world 200m champion, is considering also competing in the one-lap event in London, where she would be among the biggest challengers to an athlete who was brought up just a mile away from the Olympic stadium.

Ohuruogu, also the 2007 world champion, has struggled with below-par form and injury since her win in Beijing in 2008 set her up as one of the potential stars of the London Games.

However, her great leg to give Britain an ultimately winning lead in the 4x400m at the World Indoor Championships earlier this month backed up reports that she had been flying in training.

Felix, who was in London to compete in the Sport Relief Miles last weekend, expects Ohuruogu to be among her biggest rivals if she decides to take on the 400m in London.

“I think that’s what’s brilliant about Christine,” she told AthleticsWeekly. “She has this amazing ability to put it together when it counts. I got a chance to see the coverage of the World Indoors and she ran a great leg there and that’s just the beginning for this year.

“It seems it’s been her tendency. She can have an off year, but when it comes around to the major championships, especially the Olympic Games, she seems to put it together.”

Ohuruogu has indeed shown the ability to peak. In 2007, within a fortnight of returning from a one-year ban for missing out-of-competition dope tests, she clocked her PB of 49.61 to take world gold in Osaka. The following year she had not run within a second of that time before arriving in Beijing where she clocked 49.62 in the final.

However, she will have to overcome tough competition if she is to celebrate hometown glory in the capital in August. As well as world champion Amantle Montsho and USA’s Sanya Richards-Ross, Felix is capable of upsetting the home crowd.

Her first attempt at a major championships double last year ended with 200m bronze and two relay golds to go with her 400m silver. The 400m again comes first, but in London she will have no rest day and would need to run six individual races in six days to emulate Marie Jose-Perec’s double in 1996.

“We’re training as if I’m going to do a double but then my coach, Bobby Kersee, will make a decision right before the trials as far as what I’ll run there,” she said last week.

The US Olympic Trials take place in Eugene on June 22-July 1. Under the country’s strict selection system, she would need to finish top-three in both events, assuming the medallists have the selection standards, in order to have the chance to double.

» This article appears in the March 29 issue of Athletics Weekly

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