Former Great Britain Olympic star Christine Ohuruogu has admitted that she almost chose a career in netball over athletics.
Speaking to Sky Sports, the 400 metre runner has revealed how she was set for a lengthy career playing for England, only to switch to the track. The Londoner went on to win gold at World Olympic and Commonwealth level.
As one of eight children in her family, Ohurougu grew up with a great love of sport, but it was at primary school that she first discovered netball.
“Netball was the one place that I really did find myself at home. I loved being part of a team and that the girls actually had a sport,” she remarked.
That passion continued into secondary school and a the age of 13, she saw a picture of the England netball team and set her heart on representing her country in the sport.
However, her training took her down to the local athletics track and her talent for running swiftly became apparent.
This was sure to lead to her having to make a big decision. Ohuruogu faced the problem of training weekends for both sports clashing and was eventually persuaded by coach Lloyd Cowan to opt for the track over the netball court. Having played for the England netball team at under 17 and under 19 level, she had a tough call to make.
“I remember the phone call that I made to the head of England Netball’s performance at the time, it was probably one of the hardest phone calls I ever made in my life,” she admitted.
There may be many girls in Wandsworth taking netball lessons who have similar all-round talents. Potential sports stars may find they too end up with a big decision to make. After all, as England showed in the 2018 Commonwealth Games, gold medals are not just won on the track.
However, the most important thing is to get fit, learn the sport, enjoy being part of a team, build friendships and experience the thrill of competition.