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Gold and Silver for Ohuruogu and Mason

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Germaine Mason celebrates Silver medal

 

19 August 2008

 

Christine Ohuruogu underlined her credentials as the World’s best female 400m runner as she added a fantastic Olympic Gold to her World Championship and Commonwealth Games titles.

24 year old Ohuruogu, who trains at Lee Valley High Performance Centre in North London, powered home in Tuesday evening’s final at Beijing’s Bird’s Nest stadium, coming from fourth place at the final bend to win a pulsating race in 49.62 seconds.

Ohuruogu turned on the power on the home straight, surging past Russian pair Tatiana Firova and Yulia Gushchina before homing in on race leader Sanya Richards of the USA.

Chased by Jamaica’s Shericka Williams, Ohuruogu glided past Richards to win by a metre, with Williams in second place, and Richard coming home third to pick up the bronze.

"I am just so proud of myself," said Ohuruogu. "I know I can perform well when I need to. I may not have a good season but, like at the (2007) World championships, that's what I train all year for.

"You always have all these dreams about winning, but you never think your dreams will be reality. I just ran across the line thinking 'I won!'.

"It's not luck. I worked damn hard for this. I'm just happy it's over so I can go to sleep.

"The 400m race is very hard. It's not about the fastest, it's about keeping it together. I just knew I had to fight her (USA runner Sanya Richards) from behind, always. I may not be fast, but I fight." 
 
High jumper Germaine Mason won Team GB’s first athletics medal of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.
 
The 25-year-old equalled his lifetime best in clearing 2.34m to take Silver in a thrilling competition at the Bird’s Nest stadium. Mason had earlier failed at 2.29m, but gambled that he would be able to clear a better height. It was a gamble that paid big dividends – resulting in a silver medal for the track and field team.

“It’s good when it comes as a surprise. I’ve been waiting to equal my personal best for five years, and I finally did it when it counts. It feels good, it feels like I’m Superman," said a delighted Mason.

“I’m very proud to be the first athletics medallist of the Games from Great Britain,” he added. “It took confidence, determination and a lot of concentration, and having a lot of fun. I was confident and focussed on my technique, I knew if I got that right, I’d get some good jumps. I wasn’t thinking about medals or places.”

Meanwhile Tom Parsons finished eighth with 2.25m and Martyn Bernard came ninth, also with 2.25m.

  

Amongst the other GB finalists, Sarah Claxton was 8th in the 100m hurdles final clocking 12.94 seconds, just outside her personal best. Dawn Harper of the USA won in 12.54.

 

Andy Baddeley was disappointed not to be in the mix in the final stages of the 1500m final. He finished 9th in 3:35.37, a second off his season’s best. The race was won in 3:32.94 by Rashid Ramzi, winning the first Gold medal for Bahrain.

 

"I'll be honest, a medal was always my goal coming into these Games. However, the semi took a lot out of me and even though I was in a decent position, some pretty bad spiking halfway round hurt me a bit and when I tried to push on with the leaders I just couldn't.

 

“Still, no regrets, no excuses, I did all I could."

 

Meanwhile, Emily Freeman booked her place in the 200m semi final on her Olympic debut. She recorded a time of 22.95 seconds in the 3rd heat of the 2nd round.

 

21 year old Martyn Rooney from Croydon, made the most of his Olympic debut by qualifying in impressive style for Thursday night’s 400m final. Rooney clocked a new personal best of 44.60 in the semi final to secure his place in the final, as fourth fastest qualifier.

 

Andrew Steele was disappointed with his semi final, finishing 8th in his heat, in 45.59. He said afterwards:

 

"I'm extremely disappointed with how I ran that race. I didn't get myself in the mix early enough, I didn't do what I should've done, and had I run the race in the right manner I'd have gone through. I'm disgusted with myself."

 

Andy Turner didn’t make it through the second round of the 110m hurdles. He finished 5th in heat 2 of the second round, clocking 13.53, won by Dayron Robles (Cuba), the fastest qualifier for the semi final.

 

Allan Scott came sixth in his heat in 13.66, which wasn’t enough to make it through to the next round on his Olympic debut.

 

Olympic finalist at the 2000 Games, Christian Malcolm secured his place in the 200m final on Wednesday. Christian will be the only European in the final, after finishing 4th clocking 20.25 seconds, a season’s best performance.

 

Olympic Gold medallist Marlon Devonish was unable to produce his best in the semi final of the 200m. He finished 7th in his heat with a time of 20.57 seconds.

 

"Of course I'm bitterly disappointed. I don't want to make excuses, but I've not had the chance to do any proper training for this, I've been ill and I've had to cut back on a lot. Today was rubbish. I just hope they put me in the relay and, if they do, I'll be out to make amends, don't worry about that."

 

Tasha Danvers lines up in the 400m hurdles final on Wednesday night, 8 years after her Olympic final in Sydney. Danvers has produced her best form when it matters following a frustrating early season affected by injury set backs.


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