07 July 2009
OLYMPIC and World champion Christine Ohuruogu will race over 400m at the Aviva World Trials & UK Championships in Birmingham this weekend in a bid to reach peak performance over one lap ahead of the IAAF World Championships next month.
Ohuruogu had initially planned to race over 200m at the UKA event - last year the 25-year-old contested the 200m at the Aviva Trials finishing second behind Emily Freeman.
But with only two 400m races under her belt so far this summer, including a sixth place finish behind America’s Sanya Richards in Oslo last week, Ohuruogu decided to add another 400m race to her schedule ahead of the World Championships.
She said: “The Aviva World Trials & UK Championships are important for me to take part in another competitive race this season. It’s a big summer for athletics again and I want to be at my best for the World Championships.”
Ohuruogu will line up against Glasgow’s Lee McConnell, winner here last year, and in-form Vicky Barr, part of the silver medal winning 4x400m quartet at the European Indoor Championships earlier this year.
She said: “Running over 400m in Birmingham will be really useful to me and will undoubtedly help me keep on track with my plans in the run up to Berlin. As ever it will be a strong race, which can only be a positive experience for us all.”
Meanwhile the men’s 400m will be one of the most hotly contested events this weekend.
The one-lap event has not enjoyed such strength in depth since the days of Roger Black, Mark Richardson and Iwan Thomas at the turn of the century.
Now there is a pack of talented young athletes including Michael Bingham, Tim Benjamin, Rob Tobin, Richard Strachan and Martyn Rooney all capable of securing a place in the Aviva Great Britain & Northern Ireland team bound for the World Championships.
Michael Bingham currently tops the British rankings, in his second year competing in a GB vest. The 23-year-old finished second at the prestigious National Collegiate Championships in America last month.
Bingham said: “The Aviva Trials are very important. Every event, in every country, has lulls. Most of these lulls are due to generational gaps and there is a new wave of young athletes that are maturing. We're just now getting a glimpse of the talent in this country and the real illustration will be in three years in London.”
Bingham finished third at the Birmingham Alexander Stadium last year, missing out on an individual place at the Olympics in Beijing. This time around he’s determined to go even better:
“I'm a competitive person and I was disappointed with my finish last year, but hopeful that I could finish much better in the future. This year I am aiming to run my best and if that's first place I will be happy. Winning the national title would mean a lot to me and would mean that all my hard work has paid off.
“I am most concerned with winning at this point. Because it's so competitive, if I just focus on being competitive and winning, then the fast times will come. I talk with Martyn Rooney and Tim Benjamin quite often. I'm excited when others run well because that makes us stronger as a team. Maybe we can redeem ourselves from a fourth place last year in the 4x400m relay at the Olympics last year.”
The Aviva World Trials & UK Championships is part organised by Birmingham City Council and supported by Marketing Birmingham.
The Championships take place at the Birmingham Alexander Stadium on 10, 11 and 12 July. Tickets can be purchased online at www.uka.org.uk and by phone on 0800 055 60 56.