• World Championships

Athletics chief expects Ohuruogu to bounce back

ESPN staff
August 10, 2011
Christine Ohuruogu's best time this season is 51.49 seconds © Getty Images

UK Athletics head coach Charles van Commenee has defended the decision to include Christine Ohuruogu in the Great Britain squad for the World Championships in South Korea, which begin later this month.

Olympic champion Ohuruogu has suffered a dramatic loss of form in recent weeks, finishing last in the 400 metres at the London Grand Prix less than a week ago - a performance she described as "appalling". The 27-year-old has not broken 50 seconds since the Olympic final in 2008, while her best time this season is 51.49s.

Van Commenee is refusing to write her off, however, insisting that she will only emerge from her current slump by continuing to involve herself in top-level competition.

"She is fit but she is lacking shape. It is important that she races," he said in the Times. "This is not the easiest way to get back to the top, but as with a lot of things in life, the easiest way is not the best way.

"It was quite courageous to expose yourself against the best athletes in the world in your own back yard, as she did. She is an Olympic champion preparing for her home Olympic Games and there are 12 months to go."

Meanwhile, Van Commenee has set the bar high for the GB team at the World Championships, urging the athletes to use the event as a warm-up for London 2012.

"The target for London is eight, including a gold medal," he said. "This team has been selected to give us the best possible results. It is important to remember there is work to do before London 2012."

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