Christine Ohuruogu still searching for the perfect 400m race

London 2012 silver medallist Christine Ohuruogu claims "there's not a 400m I have run that I have been happy with"

Christine Ohuruogu
Christine Ohuruogu won 400m silver at London 2012 Photo: UK Athletics

Christine Ohuruogu

She has won world and Olympic gold and delighted the Olympic stadium with her silver medal at London 2012 but Christine Ohuruogu insists she is still searching for that perfect race.

The Newham and Essex Beagle was pipped to gold this summer by long-term rival Sanya Richards-Ross, the American making up for her disappointing bronze four years previously in Beijing.

Now 28, Ohuruogu goes into her winter training with, on the face of it, little left to prove.

But in a race like the 400m where tactics are key the British ace insists she is still motivated to squeeze every last drop out of her performance.

“First and foremost I never came into this sport because I wanted to win medals or defend titles or to get loads of money,” said Ohurougu, who was speaking at the Aviva School Sport Matters Awards.

“I just wanted to see how far and how fast I can take my sport and where could I end up and that has always been the definitive factor and as long as I have that passion to keep finding out how far I can go I don’t really need to worry too much about the finer details.

“Just knowing I am getting up in the morning and am preparing for something is enough to drive me. It is my gift and it is what I can give to the world and what I can do.

“My problem is always race plan and I think that is the great thing about the 400m is that you can always keep improving.

“It is not necessarily about how fast you can go it is about how you can make the best judgements in the race and there is not a 400m I have run that I have been happy with.

“There is always something. Even in 2008 when I won the gold I wasn’t happy. I did what I could to medal and to win but there is always something that means I am never quite happy and I think when I have finally got that I will stop.”

Ohurougu has been working with coach Lloyd Cowan for the best part of a decade and in that time has won Olympic, world and Commonwealth gold.

And the one-lap wonder insists it is that level of mutual understanding, based on years of working together, that keeps her performing at her best.

“My coach finds the balance well and it allows me to enjoy the sport and have fun but also focus on the seriousness behind being an athlete,” she added.

“We have been together for nearly nine years now so he knows exactly what to do with me and we have been through it all so I let him deal with it and I just turn up and train.

“We don’t like formalities. He always tells me we need to sit down and discuss things but he never does and it’s usually just a phone call because we suitably know what is going on.

“We know what each other are thinking and as long as I turn up and train I am in the right place and in the right state of mind to challenge.”

The Aviva and Daily Telegraph School Sport Matters Awards recognise outstanding achievements in school sport across the country, and are part of Aviva’s wider commitment to support the next generation of British sporting talent. For more information go to aviva.co.uk/rugby-sponsorship

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