London 2012: Perri’s in, out, in, out, Shakes it all about of women’s 400m hurdles final
Shakes-Drayton’s dramatic semi-final sees her promoted to final, but then removed following Rosolova appeal
Bow belle Perri Shakes-Drayton’s Olympic Games ended in the most dramatic of fashions as she was eventually knocked out of the women’s 400m hurdles semi-final last night at the Olympic Park.
The Victoria Park Harriers and Tower Hamlets athlete ran a disappointing race in the second of three semi-finals, finishing in a time of 55.19 seconds behind race winner Lashinda Demus of the USA (54.08) and Jamaica’s Kaliese Spencer (54.20) in second place.
The former Bishop Challoner pupil got off to a strong start in lane seven in her semi-final, but faded in the middle 200m, coming into the home straight in third place, which is where she finished.
Shakes-Drayton’s time was initially enough to qualify for the final as the second-fastest loser, although the 23-year-old faced an anxious wait to see the result of the third semi-final.
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“I hurdled well but I was running kind of blind because there were faster girls inside of me,” said Shakes-Drayton immediately after her race, before the third semi-final.
“I will just have to wait and see what happens. There is a sense of disappointment because of the faster times I’ve run recently.
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“I ran slower than I did yesterday (in the heats) but I’ll keep my head up.
“I wasn’t letting the pressure get to me and I said from the start I have to make the final for me to be in contention of getting a medal.
“I might not even make the final now. I am expecting the worse.”
However, in a dramatic turn of events, heat three turned out to be faster than heat two, and it looked as though Shakes-Drayton was heading home as Czech Denisa Rosolova finished in a faster time that the Victoria Park Harrier.
But the Czech was then disqualified after her semi-final, and Shakes-Drayton was promoted to Wednesday’s final as the second-fastest loser.
Rosolova immediately appealed against her disqualification, and an hour or so later was reinstated to the final, meaning that Shakes-Drayton was demoted from tomorrow evening’s race.
Team GB launched a counter-appeal, but it was rejected by the watch referee.
The news came as a blow to the east Londoner, who was hotly tipped to contest for a medal at London 2012.