Beijing gold puts Face of 2012 in contention

IAN COLE, in his latest profile of the contenders for the SJA Sports Awards, on world and Olympic 400m champion Christine Ohuruogu

Christine Ohuruogu might have been Sportswoman of the Year last year. After all, she won the world championships gold medal at 400 metres. Normally, that’s not a bad shout.

Trouble was, she had just returned from a year’s ban for missing three out-of competition drugs tests (nudge, nudge, know what I mean?) and many, apparently, thought she shouldn’t have been running at all. And that cost her votes.

Twelve months on and the girl from Stratford, the Face of London 2012, steps out in the final of the Olympic Games 400 metres in Beijing.

Halfway round the final lap she has no chance. She’s seventh of the eight runners. At best.

Coming round the final bend it’s more than doubtful. But dramatically the pre-race favourite, Sanya Richards, reveals she has gone too fast too soon and the gutsy Ohuruogu powers past both Richards and Shericka Williams to take Britain’s only athletics gold medal from Beijing.

From Mary Rand, our first Sportswoman of the Year in 1959, through Lillian Board, to Tessa Sanderson and Paula Radcliffe, athletes have dominated our awards. Will your votes see Ohuruogu join them in November?

Click here for a full shortlist of likely contenders for the 60th annual SJA Sports Awards

If you are an SJA member and want to cast your vote for the 2008 Sportsman, Sportswoman and Team of the Year, click here and complete the easy-to-follow form.

Book your ticket for the 2008 SJA British Sports Awards – click here for the form, including the members’ price discount