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Ohuruogu win leaves coach on edge
Christine Ohuruogu has become arguably Great Britain's finest female athlete of all time - a feat coach Lloyd Cowan could only bear to watch her achieve from the Luzhniki toilet.
Already an Olympic, world and Commonwealth champion, she secured a second world crown in the most remarkable of circumstances on Monday night.
Recovering from a poor start, Ohuruogu's bloody mindedness saw her pip defending champion Amantle Montsho on the line by four thousandths of a second.
Not only did her winning time secure gold, but at 49.41 seconds she crossed the line in a British record time. Kathy Cook set the previous 49.43 time when Ohuruogu was just two-and-a-half months old.
Now, 29 years on, she has reached the peak, thanks in no small part to coach Cowan. Ohuruogu heaped praise on him after the final - a race he watched from a rather peculiar vantage point.
"I was at the warm-up track in the toilet," he said. "There they have toilets, ice baths and TV monitors. I get a bit nervous and I don't really like sitting around people. I was moving like a jitterbug yesterday.
"One coach came up to me and I moved. Then there was an athlete, so I thought 'you know what, I just need to be in my own space'. I just found a place where I sat there and watched it on TV.
"The race started and I'm up and about, a Russian coach nearby said 'he's mad, he's mad' and that was it. I enjoyed that moment. It was a proud moment."
Cowan was not the only one watching the race unfold on TV. Christine's sister, fellow British sprinter and 4x400m team member Victoria, blamed nerves for her non-attendance before fessing up.
"She said that she couldn't come to the stadium to watch because she was so scared," Ohuruogu said with a smile. "She also told me she missed the bus and I think that's the real reason she didn't come. I was just happy she was able to see it."
Whether watching from a toilet or hotel room, it was impossible not to be impressed by Ohuruogu's determination, skill and grace. Just two years ago she had considered her future in the sport after a false start at the World Championships in Daegu - something almost unheard of in the 400m.
She returned strongly, though, taking silver at London 2012 before going one better with a record-breaking performance on Monday.
"London was great last year but I needed the national record," Ohuruogu said. "That's the one thing left for me to have.
"You're not supposed to give up. You're supposed to fight with everything you've got. That's just great proof that winning can be the difference of margins that are just negligible, almost."
That mental strength is epitomised by the fact her three major titles were won with a combined margin of victory of just 0.11s and coach Cowan believes it is borne out of the tough times.
Her first world title in Osaka six years ago came just a matter of weeks after returning from a one-year ban for missing three out-of-competition drug tests.
"My conversation with her at that time was 'if you go through something like this then nothing should ever faze you in your life because this is vicious, this is very, very vicious'," Cowan said.
"The way I am, if you do something wrong, then fair enough. Just say that's a mistake. But this [criticism] is from outside. I honestly don't care what you do or say, I've just got to do a job, get her back in there. I'm not saying it's a hatred thing but think that everyone's your enemy and if you win everyone loves you.
"The thing is, the more you win the more they love you."
Ohuruogu admitted she "cringed" when watching back that latest win and was frustrated with a poor opening 300m. That kind of relentless analysis has provided a number of sleepless nights recently and feeds her belief that the best is yet to come.
"I think I can go faster," she said. "I'm happy to get the British record but it's not quite fast enough. I've always kind of had 49.2 in my head so I was a bit disappointed that I ran 49.41."
Ohuruogu looks to have a three-year window to do just that, with a shot at Olympic glory in Rio on the horizon.
"We're working on it," Cowan said. "It's another three years away and that's where I think we will finish the story. I have to keep her motivated. She will be 32 and I think in her prime, but you can't keep pushing the body. We have to be smart. That's where we will do the last chapter."
Another Olympic medal would cap her illustrious career perfectly and surely end debate over her position in the order of Britain's finest female athletes.
Or, is she the best already? "No, I'm just Christine," she said. "I just go and train. My sister's here. My crazy brothers are at home. That's what keeps me happy."