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With Oslo over, Berlin beckons

Sonja McLaughlan | 13:33 UK time, Saturday, 4 July 2009

Bislett Games, Oslo

Christine Ohuruogu leaned on the railing in front of me close to exhaustion and said nothing. It seemed like the silence would go on forever. She knew she hadn't run well and was honest enough to admit it.

This was supposed to be the big rematch between the reigning Olympic champion and the woman she beat to the 400m title in Beijing, Sanya Richards. But in truth it was no contest at all. The American was a clear winner stamping her authority on the event in the fastest time in the world this year. Ohuruogu, by contrast, trailed home in a sluggish sixth and said afterwards she was "mortified." Some athletes refuse to talk after a bad race, but she certainly wasn't ducking the difficult questions. The only problem was she didn't really have any answers. Quite simply, she was at a loss to explain what went wrong, but was adamant she'd trained well and had fully recovered from a recent virus.

Women's 400m final, Oslo

As gold medallist two years ago, Ohuruogu qualifies automatically for August's World Championships in Berlin, so will use the trials in Birmingham next weekend to sharpen her sprinting, running over 100m and 200m instead. That's the plan anyway, although I left her heading off for a post-mortem with coach Lloyd Cowan so that might yet change. One thing to remember though; Ohuruogu is the past master at getting it right when it counts. She may have only beaten Richards once in her career, but crucially it was in the Olympic final and you can bet that's the plan again this year. "I don't train to chase times," she said, "I train to chase medals."

Someone who believes he'll win a medal in Berlin is Asafa Powell, who confessed he's virtually running on one leg at the moment. He still managed to win the 100m, but was being caught with every stride by Antigua's Daniel Bailey. Powell's recovering from an ankle injury which he admits was preying on his mind at the start. He was virtually left behind when the gun went off and won't scare Usain Bolt or Tyson Gay with a time of 10.07.

The confidence is still there, but you can't help thinking the gentle Jamaican may have missed his chance to claim a major title. He told me he wants the world record back, but on current form surely it's a resurgent Tyson Gay who's the main challenger to you-know-who? All should become clear with Powell and Gay due to go head-to-head in Rome next Friday.

Watch out for a face in the crowd in Rome. The man they call the "Blade Runner," Oscar Pistorius is based just north of the capital in Grosseto, and is hoping to go and watch the third leg of the Golden League. The South African would love to run there again, but is struggling to regain his fitness after suffering multiple injuries when his speedboat crashed in February. He was a frustrated athlete in Oslo after failing to hit the qualifying mark over 400m for the IAAF World Championships in Berlin. There's still time, but he accepts he faces a losing battle.

"Something's going to have to flip 360 degrees for me to qualify," he said, sitting in the warm-down area with his head in his hands, and looking like he could do with a hug.

Oscar wore bright Orange in Oslo and he wasn't alone. All the athletes sponsored by Nike did the same, which lead to the rather ridiculous situation of five athletes in the men's 100m all lining up next to each other in the same colour. It didn't help that those with Adidas were all in one colour too.

Men's 100m final, Oslo

How are fans in the stadium and those watching at home meant to tell who is who? It's just confusing at a time when the sport is trying to become more accessible. Do I not like Orange!


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