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Ohuruogu excited for Great North City Games
WORLD champion Christine Ohuruogu believes the calibre of athletes taking part in tomorrow’s Great North City Games demonstrates just how popular the event has become with some of the best track and field specialists in the world.
Six Olympic, and seven World Championship gold medallists will be on show on the Newcastle/Gateshead Quayside, where spectators will be able to get closer than ever to some of the most successful athletes in the world.
Olympic champion and two-time world champion Ohuruogu is the headline act for a Great Britain team that will also include 100m runner James Dasaulo, who became the second fastest Briton of all time after running 9.91 seconds in the British Championships, and Paralympic champion at the same distance, Jonnie Peacock.
Dasaulo will be up against Ryan Bailey from the USA, while fellow Brits Harry Aikines-Aryeetey and Dwain Chambers are also in contention.
Australia’s current 100m women’s hurdles champion, Sally Pearson, is also confirmed to take part and she will be lining up against America’s Dawn Harper and Kellie Wells, while Tiffany Porter flies the flag for Great Britain.
Ohuruogu, who competed in the European Athletics Team Championships at Gateshead’s International Stadium earlier this year, is hoping for another big crowd when she returns tomorrow.
“We had a great turn-out for the team champs, so I am expecting big things this weekend,” Ohuruogu said. “I have bigged you all up, I am expecting big things, 50,000 people on Saturday - is that too much to ask? [smiling].
“I'm not too sure of the actual amount of medallists that will be there this weekend, but it just goes to show what a great event it is and how they are willing to stay the whole length just to make sure they run at these games.
“These are world-class athletes and you don't even have to buy a ticket, just roll up whenever you want, come out and watch.”
Ohuruogu will be the headline act on the banks of the River Tyne tomorrow in what will be her second race since regaining her world title in Moscow last month and the 29-year-old admits she is feeling a little pressure ahead of her 150m race.
She said: “It's a pressure - it means I have got to run fast! It's great. It's good. It's nice to be the headline act. I'm not too sure how I'm going to run.
“I trained yesterday after not having trained for quite a while, but my legs still work.
“But it is actually the taking part. It's more about letting people come out and see.”
The 400m specialist then has the honour of starting the Great North Run alongside Ashes winner Graeme Swann and Ohuruogu revealed she is looking forward to cheering on every runner.
“I have seen the guys who have done it before me, so I have quite big shoes to fill! I will do my best.
“We will have a bit of fun up there. It should be good, I am looking forward to it. Hopefully I can encourage the guys to go out and run hard.
“I'll see how many high fives I can get as well. My hands will probably be hanging off! But it will be good.”
*Entry to the Great North City Games is FREE. The main event starts at 10am and will run to 2.30pm, but there are also a host of junior events on in the morning, including the Great North Mini Run, as well as the Great North Junior Run afterwards.
*See Saturday's Northern Echo for a Spotlight feature on Christine Ohuruogu
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