London 2012: I wouldn’t see myself as a medal contender, says Shakes-Drayton

Victoria Park Harrier more concerned with reaching her 400m hurdles final

Victoria Park Harrier and Tower Hamlets’ Perri Shakes-Drayton has gone from Olympic hopeful to gold medal contender following her recent London Grand Prix success – even if the 23-year-old refuses to admit it.

Shakes-Drayton grew up just a stone’s throw from where she will be competing in the women’s 400m hurdles on Sunday, August 5, and the former Bishop Challoner School pupil is trying to keep her feet on level ground, despite her London Grand Prix success a fortnight ago.

At Crystal Palace, Shakes-Drayton took 0.41 seconds off her previous personal best, running 53.77 and breaking the 54-second barrier for the first time in her career.

What’s more, the Bow-born youngster also beat the Beijing Olympic gold medal winner Jamaican Melaine Walker as well as the current European champion Irina Davydova – crossing the finish line some distance in front of the pair.

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“I’m not getting carried away with what happened,” she said. “I wouldn’t see myself as a medal contender. That would be getting ahead of myself.

“The girls I beat have beaten me a few times before so I know I still need to concentrate on making the final.

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“It makes me feel like I’m on track and my training’s going in the right direction.

“It’s more pressure, in a way, because people are expecting more from you.

“It gave me a lot of confidence, but I won’t let it get into my head too much because with my event, anything can happen.”

Of course, following her 400m hurdles event, Shakes-Drayton then has another chance to claim gold on her home turf when she competes in the 4x400m relay alongside Nicola Sanders, Lee McConnell, Shana Cox and Christine Ohuruogu.

And following the team’s World Indoor Championships gold medal earlier this year, Bow’s belle could be set for an eventful home Games.

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