Shakes-Drayton aiming for World Championship final

Victoria Park & Tower Hamlets athlete looking for gradual improvement

Bow Olympic hopeful Perri Shakes-Drayton is hoping her personal best at the recent Diamond League meeting will give her the springboard to reach the final at this summer’s World Championships.

The 400m hurdler was in top form in Rome, as she clocked 51.47 seconds in lane one of the 400m flat.

Competing against world class talent such as current Olympic champion Allyson Felix and current World Indoor Champion Debbie Dunn, Shakes-Drayton more than held her own to finish sixth.

“To compete against some of the best in the world and hold my own in an event which isn’t even hurdles is something I was really pleased with,” said the former Bishop Challoner pupil.

“To do so well in that field gives me so much confidence. It gives me great preparation to know what it is like to compete against world-class athletes.”

Shakes-Drayton entered the race as a rank outsider and believes the lack of expectation on her to beat her opponents had a positive effect on her performance.

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“I went in there under no pressure, because of the quality of the field and I was told to just go out there, race and enjoy myself and I did that,” she said.

“I was down as a reserve, but went out there knowing I was going to race and going out there without any pressure really helped me. To not finish last in such an impressive field was pleasing.”

The Victoria Park & Tower Hamlets athlete has made a good start to the season, running competitive times and winning her last two races at Middlesex County Championships and the Loughborough Internatioanal.

“I have done well in the 400m flat so far and I need to do it because you can’t run hurdles all the time and it’s a great opportunity to help me increase my speed,” she said.

“I’m happy with how things have gone and I’m now looking to push on.”

And with the World Championships set to take place in Daegu, South Korea this August, Shakes-Drayton is hoping to hit her peak when it matters most.

“My goal is to reach the final of the World Championships this summer and it is my major focus of the season,” she said.

“I know I can do it I just need to keep doing what I am doing, working hard and keep improving and the times and results will come and hopefully I can achieve my goal.”

Perri Shakes Drayton is an ambassador for McCain, Principal Partner of UK Athletics. For more information on how to get involved in athletics, please visit