Former Havering Sixth Form student Victoria Ohuruogu is fast becoming one of Britain’s brightest athletics stars after her success at the recent Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
Victoria won silver in the women’s 400m – achieving a PB (personal best) of 50.72 and only just losing out to Sada Williams from Barbados, who set a new Games Record.
The former A Level student, now 29, was bitterly disappointed after thinking she had won gold as part of the women’s 4 x 400m relay team, but they were unfortunately later disqualified after a lane infringement came to light.
Back in 2009 when she started at Havering Sixth Form, Victoria (pictured above in her student days) was already showing exceptional promise on the track. In the following two years, she became the British U19 400m champion as well as the English Schools 400m champion. She also competed for GB in the first Youth Olympic Games in Singapore.
She studied A Levels in English Language, History and Textiles and was mentored on the college’s Elite Athlete Support Programme which was set up to help high-achieving students juggle their sporting commitments with their A Level studies.
She travelled from her home in Stratford to attend the sixth form in Hornchurch because she said it offered better opportunities than many other colleges and had the best courses and teachers.
At the time, she said that her dream would be to emulate her sister Christine, now her coach, who was Olympic 400m champion and then went on to become Commonwealth and World champion too. She said: “Christine has inspired me because she has achieved what most athletes have tried to achieve all their lives and she is still extremely hard working and focused on her job.”
After her silver success in Birmingham, Victoria said: “I’m really chuffed. I have been training for this since I was 16 or 17 so it has been many years in the making. Now I am older, I have taken charge of my training and revamped my programme, so I feel I am mentally and physically stronger.
“I knew it was going to be tough. I always aim high and I wanted to win, but I got a silver and a PB, so that’s ok.”
Looking to Christine, she added: “I’m just proud that our name is still on the track. I want to say thank you to my family, my sister, my boyfriend, my support system. It’s been a tough year but we’ve got something out of it, so I’m happy.”
Victoria’s Commonwealth Games silver adds to the bronze she won in July in the women’s 4 x 400m relay in the World Athletics Championships in Oregon, USA. Now she has her sights set on gold at the European Championships being held in Germany later this month.