Christine Ohuruogu

Christine Ohuruogu

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Christine Ohuruogu
Height 5'9" (175 cm)
Weight 154 lbs (70 kg)
Born May 17, 1984 (1984-05-17) (age 31) at London, England
Club Newham & Essex Beagles Athletic Club

Christine Ijeoma Chika Ohuruogu MBE (1984-) is an English athlete who specialises in the 400 metres; the event for which she is the current Commonwealth and Olympic Champion. Her victory in the Beijing Games was the 50th gold medal for Great Britain in Athletics at the Olympics.[1]

Ohuruogu's Personal Best of 49.61 ranks her third fastest British woman in the 400m, behind fellow Olympic medallists Kathy Smallwood-Cook and Katharine Merry.



Born to Igbo Nigerian parents[2][3] in Newham, East London,[4] she was raised less than one mile from the 2012 Summer Olympics stadium in Stratford.[5] Ohuruogu studied at University College London, where she graduated in Linguistics in 2005.[6] She also played netball during her undergraduate studies. Christine has 8 siblings, one of whom is Victoria Ohuruogu, a top sprints competitor in her age group. She also went to St. Edwards Church of England School, Romford, Essex.

She is a member of Newham and Essex Beagles Athletics Club.

She was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2009 New Year Honours.[7][8]

Athletics career

In 2003 Ohuruogu was a bronze medallist at 400 m at the European Junior Championships. She became the AAA champion in the 400m in 2004, was a semi-finalist in the 400m at the Athens Olympics of 2004, also taking part in the 4 x 400 m relay team that finished 4th. In the 2005 European Under 23 Championships she took the silver medal, losing individual gold by a hundredth of a second. She also won silver in the 4 x 400 metres relay.

After reaching the semi-final at the 400 m at the 2005 World Championships in Athletics she won a bronze medal in the women's 4 x 400 metres relay together with Lee McConnell, Donna Fraser and Nicola Sanders.

She won a gold medal for England in the 400 m at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in a personal best time of 50.28 seconds, beating favourite Tonique Williams-Darling in both her semi-final and the final.[9]

Within 24 days of the end of her year-long competition suspension she returned to surprise the field and win the gold medal at the 2007 World Championships in Athletics. Fellow British athlete, Nicola Sanders took the silver with Novlene Williams of Jamaica in third. Ohuruogu had won all three of her individual races at the world championships - her heat, her semi-final, plus the final. The fastest woman in the world, Sanya Richards, did not qualify for the World Championships, after failing to make the United States team.

2006 Commonwealth Games Relay Controversy

At the 2006 Commonwealth Games, Ohuruogu ran the final leg in the 4x400 m relay for England. On the second leg with 200 m to go until the third change-over, Jamaica were leading with Australia second and England in third. The rules are that the change over athletes are to line up in order of the position at 200 m. This would have meant that Jamaica would have the inside lane, then Australia with England third from the inside. However, between 200 m and 300 m of the second leg, Nicola Sanders of England overtook Caitlin Willis meaning coming up to the third change, the English team were second, with Australia in third place. Tasha Danvers, the English athlete changed places with the Australian, Tamsyn Lewis. On the home straight, however, Willis and Sanders ran in the 2nd and 3rd lane respectively, and had to change over to pass the baton, as they were obviously aware of the rules. The English team went on to win the race, with Ohuruogu pulling away at the end.

However after the race the Australians were awarded the gold medal as the English team had breached IAAF Rule 170 when Danvers-Smith changed position with Lewis.

(RULE 170 Relay Races9. The athletes in the third and fourth legs of the 4x400m relay race shall, under the direction of a designated official, place themselves in their waiting position in the same order (inside to out) as the order of their respective team members as they complete 200m of their legs. Once the incoming athletes have passed this point, the waiting athletes shall maintain their order, and shall not exchange positions at the beginning of the take-over zone. If an athlete does not follow this Rule, his team shall be disqualified.)

Competition Suspension

Christine Ohuruogu was suspended from competing in the 2006 European Athletics Championships. The reason for this was that she missed three out of competition drugs tests, one in October 2005 and two in June 2006. According to IAAF and British Olympic Association rules, she received a one-year ban for missing these tests, which expired on 5 August 2007.[10]

The British Olympic Association also imposed a lifetime ban excluding Ohuruogu from competing at future Olympic Games for Great Britain.[11] She appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, but the original decision was upheld.[12] Ohuruogu submitted a further appeal, and stated that she would probably leave Britain and compete in the Olympics for another country if it was unsuccessful.[13][14] Her Olympic ban was finally overturned on 27 November 2007.

2007 Athletics World Championships

A day after her ban was finished, Ohuruogu was selected for the British team at the 2007 Athletics World Championships.[10] She had only run five competitive races before the final since her suspension; however, she managed to take the individual 400m and secure the only gold medal for Great Britain at the Championships, while her compatriot Nicola Sanders won silver. She also took bronze in the 400m relay.

2008 Olympics

In Beijing, Ohuruogu won her heat against Yulia Guschina who finished 0.18 seconds behind and semi-final for the 400m women's race against Shericka Williams by 0.14 seconds, before taking the gold with a finish down the home straight, beating pre-race favourite Sanya Richards of the USA into bronze and Shericka Williams of Jamaica into silver, with a time of 49.62s. This time, over 2 seconds slower than the world record, would have achieved no higher than Bronze at each of the Olympics since 1976 (and was slower than 5th place in 1996). It was Great Britain's first - and only - track and field Olympic gold of the 2008 Games, and Ohuruogu was the first British female Olympic champion of the 400m.[15]


In preparation for the European Indoor Championships in Turin, Ohuruogu set personal bests in the 60 metres and 200 m at the Birmingham Grand Prix.[16] She competed at the 2009 Manchester City Games, finishing second in the 150 metres final in 17.10 seconds.[17] She ran a personal best 22.85 seconds to take second place in the 200 m at the Fanny Blankers-Koen Games.[18] While she won the 400 m national title at the UKA Championships in Birmingham that July, her times and finishes over the distance at IAAF Golden League meets were unimpressive.[19] She had failed to break 51 seconds in the 2009 season; some distance behind world-leader Richards' best of 49.23 seconds.[20] A hamstring problem caused her to withdraw from the London Grand Prix, raising doubts that she would be unable to defend her World title.[19]

Personal bests

Event Best Location Date
60 metres 7.54 s Birmingham, England 21 February 2009
100 metres 11.35 s Irvine, California, United States 4 May 2008
200 metres 22.85 s Hengelo, Netherland 1 June 2009
400 metres 49.61 s Osaka, Japan 29 August 2007

External links


  1. Retrieved 2010-03-10.
  2. Snow, Mat. Christine Ohuruogu: Holidays are for wimps. Times Newspapers. Retrieved on 2009-01-25. “"Her parents came to England from Nigeria in 1980 and the family name means “fighter” in their native Igbo tongue."”
  3. McRae, Donald (Saturday 2 August 2008). Mirth and melancholy of a dreamer named Ohuruogu. The Guardian. Retrieved on 2009-01-25. “From Ohuruogu, "My mum and dad still speak their Igbo dialect which we were never taught. But we know odd words. Like when someone annoys you, you know how to insult them."”
  4. Athletics: Briton Sweating Over Drugs Test The Guardian - 9 November 2006
  5. Duncan Mackay Fate of star athlete and UK 2012 Olympics hope hangs in the balance The Guardian - August 8, 2006
  6. UCL world champion. UCL News. University College London (2007-08-29). Retrieved on 2008-07-20.
  7. Template:LondonGazette
  9. Valentina, Renee; Jacquelin Magnay. "It's Ohuruogu in a 400 upset", Sydney Morning Herald, 2006-03-22. Retrieved on 2007-04-08.
  10. 10.0 10.1 "Ohuruogu handed place in GB squad", BBC, 2007-08-07. Retrieved on 2007-08-07.
  11. "Ohuruogu is hit by one-year ban", BBC, 2006-09-15. Retrieved on 2007-04-08.
  12. "Court of Arbitration for Sport - Christine Ohuruogu decision", IAAF, 2007-04-04. Retrieved on 2007-04-08.
  13. Ohuruogu ready to change nationality. SuperAthletics. (2007-08-08). Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved on 2009-05-30.
  14. Ohuruogu could to on the run for Nigeria, Daily Express, 2007-08-09
  15. Ohuruogu grabs gold for Britain. BBC (2008-08-19). Retrieved on 2008-08-19.
  16. Ashenden, Mark (2009-02-21). Farah breaks record in Birmingham. BBC Sport. Retrieved on 2009-02-23.
  17. Superb Bolt storms to 150m record. BBC Sport (2009-05-17). Retrieved on 2009-05-17.
  18. Hart, Simon (2009-06-01). Christine Ohuruogu sets 200m personal best. The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved on 2009-06-05.
  19. 19.0 19.1 Kessel, Anna (2009-07-17). Christine Ohuruogu's withdrawal leaves world champ a doubt for Berlin. The Guardian. Retrieved on 2009-07-23.
  20. Ramsak, Bob (2009-07-05). Richards to take on Felix in Rome - ÅF Golden League. IAAF. Retrieved 2009-07-23.

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