Christine Ohuruogu, MBE, is a household name when it comes to GB and English athletics. The World, Olympic and Commonwealth champion has seen it all, competed at all the major athletics events across the world, tasted both success and heartbreak, but states that the Commonwealth Games is the most memorable championships of her career and says that the future of athletics and the Commonwealth Games is bright.
We spoke to Christine about her memories of the Commonwealth Games and the importance of helping to grow young talent.
Team England: Christine, you’ve been a Team England athlete a number of times, tell us about your memories of the Commonwealth Games?
Christine Ohuruogu: I competed in Melbourne 2006, it was probably one of my most memorable championships, as it was my first and I went into it completely blind. It really was a big stepping stone in my career.
I also went to Glasgow last year and I really enjoyed it.
TE: Having a home crowd at Glasgow must’ve really amplified the experience?
CO: Because of 2012, it was great to continue that legacy of sport in Britain and it was nice to know that it wasn’t just in London and the South-East, it was across the UK.
It shows how sport is growing in Britain, that people do appreciate it and are willing to pay to come and watch world class performances.
As athletes you always appreciate the fact that they are willing to come out and support you, despite the weather.
TE: Well the weather certainly won’t be a problem in 2018, as Team England head to Australia’s Gold Coast for the Commonwealth Games. Is that a goal for you?
CO: It would be great to go there, of course it would, but I think I will be done by then. However it would be nice to return there. I have only been to Australia that once, for my first Commonwealth Games, and it would be nice to go back.
The Gold Coast is spectacular and I think Australia is like England in the sense that they love sport and are very competitive. But, competition is good; it encourages everyone to raise their standard.
What was great about Melbourne was that when I competed, competition was fierce and I couldn’t just walk in and win a medal.
The Commonwealth Games is an important event, it’s an important Championship and it’s one that when you do well in, it sits just as highly as a world medal.
TE: There is a lot of exciting young, English talent coming through isn’t there?
CO: There is so much exciting English talent coming through! I am just happy that I am on my way out and that I’m not a sprinter.
The young stars are really turning up the heat on some of us, but it is great to say that we have some athletes that potentially can be world-beaters, which is something that we can’t always say. They are so young, excited and hungry and it’s an exciting time to be in the sport and I am proud of all of them for stepping up and being professional.
TE: Next month, England’s youth athletes head to Samoa for the 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games – what advice can you offer them?
CO: I think you have to have a sense of enjoyment and on the back of that you need to remember what the job at hand is. The mind-set of wanting to win has to be present and even though you want to, and need to, enjoy yourself; you need to remember what you are there for. I really think that will provide good stability.
You might not be in a position to be able to go and win, but you should try to make finals and set PBs and do your best.