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Ohuruogu wants to stay in Britain

10 September 2007

World 400m champion Christine Ohuruogu has underlined her commitment to British athletics, although she is currently banned from the Olympics.

But she refused to rule out running for another country if her appeal against her Olympic ban is unsuccessful.

"Britain will be my first choice and I wouldn't want to run for anyone else because this is where I grew up," she told BBC ONE's Inside Sport programme.

"I'll keep praying but you can never be sure what will happen."

The British Olympic Association handed Ohuruogu a lifetime Olympic ban after she was suspended from all competitions for a year for missing three doping tests.

She returned from the year's ban just three weeks before clinching gold at the World Championships in Osaka.

Ohuruogu claimed an off-hand comment about running for Nigeria - the birthplace of her parents - which she made before taking gold, was misunderstood.

"It wasn't something that I seriously considered," she explained.

"The way I see it I was very proud when I was on the rostrum and I won the gold medal for Great Britain and I was very proud to elevate British athletics."

"I've not considered my options but I'm hoping and praying everything will have a positive outcome."

Triathlete Tim Don successfully had his ban for missing drugs tests overturned by a BOA Appeals Panel in May because of "mitigating circumstances".

Ohuruogu's lawyers will argue a similar case in the hope of winning an appeal.

Ohuruogu could find circumstances in her favour as the BOA is considering lightening punishments for athletes who miss drugs tests.

The Londoner's victory in Osaka drew a mixed response with suggestions that her gold was tainted because of her ban for doping offences.

Ohuruogu believes she has already served her punishment, but did concede that she was culpable for missing the tests.

The 24-year-old blamed missing the third test on "a last-minute change of plan" and a "stressful day".

"I know I should have remembered and it was a big error on my part to allow such a huge mistake to be made," she said.

"I have to sit back and say I do take responsibility for that. I've paid the penalty for a huge mistake that should never have happened.

"I've had to make certain lifestyle changes and I've changed my training slots so they are the same time every morning and the testers know where to find me.

"I have to be a model athlete now as a lot of people are watching me and I have to make sure I do everything by the book."

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