Coach Zah: Perri’s plaudits are richly deserved

Perri Shakes-Drayton was named Athlete of the Year by Victoria Park Harriers and Tower Hamlets AC

Perri Shakes-Drayton was named Athlete of the Year by her club Victoria Park Harriers and Tower Hamlets AC last week – and her coach Chris Zah has been delighted with the character she has shown to bounce back so soon after a disappointing Olympic Games.

The 23-year-old was expected to challenge for a medal in the 400 metres hurdles competition at the Olympic Stadium in August.

But a hamstring injury saw her surprisingly eliminated at the semi-final stage and left her London 2012 medal dreams in tatters.

Less than a month later though, Shakes-Drayton was back on the track running in a Diamond League meeting in Switzerland where she finished third in 53.83 seconds – just 0.06 seconds outside of her personal best.

And now the curtain has come down on an exciting summer season, Zah believes the Bow-born athlete’s ability to produce impressive performances, so soon after stark disappointment, makes the club honour richly deserved.

“It took a few weeks for her to get over what happened at the Olympics,” he said.

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“I did a bit of kidology with her and convinced her to get straight back out there and to try and perform.

“I couldn’t fault the Diamond League performances at all. Bouncing back like that is typical of her character. I expected nothing less.

“She’s got time on her side. She’s still only 23 and there will be plenty more major championships to come.”

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