Olympic 400m champion Christine Ohuruogu will go head-to-head with reigning World champion Sanya Richards-Ross for the first time this year when the pair meet at the Aviva British Grand Prix in Gateshead on July 10. They will then race for a second time a month later at the Aviva London Grand Prix at Crystal Palace on August 13 and 14, and Ohuruogu hopes a successful summer on home soil will be the beginning of a psychological advantage over her one-lap nemesis in the countdown to London 2012.
Ohuruogu will take on Richards-Ross in a stellar line up at the Gateshead International Stadium which includes five world medallists. For Ohuruogu, Nicola Sanders and Novlene Williams-Mills, it will be a re-run of their 2007 World Championship final in Osaka, where Ohuruogu and Sanders crossed the line for a British one-two with Williams-Mills the bronze. While the field also provides the final three from the Beijing Olympics, where Richards-Ross took bronze, Shericka Williams claimed silver and Britain’s Ohuruogu led the way with gold.
Sanders said: “I’m really looking forward to running with Christine and the other 400m girls again. It’s great when we’re all out on the track pushing each other on and our results at the World Championships in Osaka in 2007 is tantamount to this. “I’ve had a tough couple of years due to injury but it was great to be back in action in the Aviva GB and NI Team for the European Team Championships last weekend and I’m really looking forward to a solid outdoor season which I hope in turn will lead to challenging for major honours.” Round two of the World v Olympic champion will then take place in London, where they’ll also face tough competition from 200m World champion Allyson Felix, who has posted the fasted time in the world over one lap so far this year.
Having enjoyed a well documented rivalry with Richards-Ross at the Major Championships in recent years, Ohuruogu came out on top with an outstanding victory and world lead time at the Beijing Games in 2008, but Richards-Ross dominated on the world stage 12 months later in Berlin, with an exceptional gold medal winning performance. Ohuruogu said: “I’m really looking forward to competing at the Aviva London Grand Prix; there’s nothing like competing in front of your home crowd! World class events like this give me and other British athletes the opportunity to compete against the best athletes in the world on home soil – brilliant practice for the forthcoming London Olympics!
“I last competed at Crystal Palace in 2008 and was really pleased with my performance. This year I’m competing against the World Champion and I’m hoping for another win and an even better performance – Sanya and I will be pushing each other all the way which will hopefully mean a quick time. We’ve enjoyed some great battles over the past few years; in Beijing and Berlin and I’m looking forward to yet another one, this
time in London.”
So far this season, Ohuruogu has competed in Diamond League events in both Doha and Oslo, in addition to the World Challenge meeting in Ostrava at the end of May.
Despite finishing outside of the podium positions, her times are comparatively quicker than at the same point in the season in previous years, which bodes well for the athlete who recently announced that her aim is to run quick times consistently rather than exclusively at
major championships. Richards-Ross, one of 14 Diamond League ambassadors, will arrive in
Gateshead for first of the UK’s two IAAF Diamond League events before returning to compete at the Aviva London Grand Prix at Crystal Palace a month later – the only meet in the 14-event IAAF Diamond League that takes place over two days.Ticket prices are as follows: Tier 2 tickets are still available; £20 for Adults and £15 for Concessions
Tickets for the Aviva London Grand Prix at Crystal Palace on August
13-14 are available by phone on 08000 556 056 or online at