Despite nearing her 30th birthday and seemingly having done it all, Christine Ohuruogu ‘s best years are still to come according to British Athletics’ lead sprints coach Lloyd Cowan.
Ohuruogu became the first British female to win individual 400m gold at the Beijing 2008 Olympics but injuries thereafter prevented her from returning to such heights.
Despite finishing fifth at the World Championships a year later in Berlin her season was blighted by a quadriceps muscle tear, a problem that also hampered her 2010 and 2011 seasons.
However, she has always been one for the big occasion and Ohuruogu announced herself back in style at London 2012 as she took silver behind American Sanya Richards Ross.
But the best was yet to come for the Ohuruogu as became the first British woman to win two world titles when she clinched gold in Moscow in August, breaking Kathy Cook's long-standing national record in the process
One man who has endured every twist of this rollercoaster journey with Ohuruogu has been her coach Cowan, who in January this year was promoted to the role of British Athletics’ lead sprints coach.
The adventure is set to continue with Ohuruogu already signaling her intent to compete at Rio 2016, and although she will be 32 in Brazil, Cowan believes the year’s missed through injury could be a blessing in disguise.
“The target for us is to evaluate after a wonderful season, look at what is important for next year and that’s what we do, we take it year by year, the body is the body,” Cowan said, speaking at the 2013 UK Coaching Awards supported by Gillette.
“It is about managing her as a female, her best years are to come, I believe as a coach, because you have to look at the years we’ve lost through injury. I take them as non-competitive years.
“So she is a 29-year-old in a 26-year-old’s body. And she’s willing and focused, we already spoke about Beijing and the 2015 worlds there and she knows the plan already.
“We’re just a few months removed from the worlds but we have a plan in place for next year and the year after that.
“Beijing and Rio are her sole focus, that is the ultimate for her, to be in the best peak shape in her life and put in as good if not better performances than she did so at the worlds.”
However despite his confidence that Ohuruogu can stave off Father Time for a little while longer, Cowan admits that she will need some extra care and attention moving forward.
“If she wants to make it to Rio, we have to be smart,” he added. “We have to make some sacrifices that people might not want to see, but we have to cut back a little bit on the intensity and have a wonderful season next year.
“She’ll race next year, the Commonwealth Games or the Europeans. Definitely at the Commonwealths but with the Europeans we’re having a bit of a debate.
“But that’s it for next year, maybe a few Diamond Leagues next year to give her a recovery year, not so intense, and we’ll just get ready for the World Championships and after that hopefully the Olympic Games.”
© Sportsbeat 2013