World of Sport

Revealed: The athlete who funds British hopefuls from own pocket

British 400m star Christine Ohuruogu funds young athletes with her own money, UK Athletics performance director Neil Black has revealed.

Former Olympic gold medallist Ohuruogu, 29, is a double world champion but shuns the limelight relative to her contemporaries.

Instead the East Londoner prefers to visit local schools and colleges to promote sports among children – but that’s not all she does, it emerged.

“She doesn’t tell anyone but Chrissie pays for people to go training and to events. She’s putting huge amounts back into the sport,” Black was quoted as saying in the Daily Express.

“What’s great is to see people like Chrissie supporting other athletes, both psychologically and out of her own pocket.”

In keeping with her preference to remain private, Ohuruogu has stayed silent about her good deeds, refusing to reveal how much she spends.

But the Express claims she pays for promising young athletes to go warm-weather training.

The revelations come in stark contrast to her prickly behaviour with the media, with her guarded nature believed to result from criticism received for missing three drug tests between 2005-06.

Ohuruogu – who admitted she had been left exhausted by back-to-back Olympic and World Championship seasons – is stepping back from competition this year.

She is expected to skip the World Indoors in March, and has been tipped to miss one or both of the European Championships and the Commonwealth Games this summer.

“Chrissie will be having a more enjoyable, slightly less stressful, but very active year,” added Black. “We won’t be putting her under pressure to produce individual performances.

“Why would we? She wants to do that again in the future.

“Ohurougu will be a massive part of the relays and she’ll decide whether she wants to do individual stuff and there won’t be any pressure from us.”