Shakes-Drayton vows to hurdle her way into medal contention
Victoria Park & Tower Hamlets athlete aiming for top spot at the World Championships
Perri Shakes-Drayton admits she was a rabbit in the headlights on her World Championship debut – but fast forward two years and the East London-ace has vowed to dash her way into global medal contention next week.
Shakes-Drayton was still in the age-group ranks in 2009 when, as a fresh-faced youngster she made the leap from claiming European under-23 gold to take on the world’s best in Berlin.
Now 22, and with a European bronze medal to her name, Shakes-Drayton is adamant the athlete in Berlin bares little resemblance to the one in South Korea.
Next week will see the Tower Hamlets and Victoria Park athlete take on the world’s best hurdlers for the second time in the heat and humidity of Daegu – and she can’t wait.
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“I have always said I wanted to make it to the final,” said Shakes-Drayton – who is currently preparing for the World Championships in the heat, humidity and rain of Ulsan, South Korea. “Training is going well; I’ve raced a lot of these top girls in the world.
“I haven’t beaten them but I am just going to try my best and if I get to the final anything can happen.
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“When I came to the last Worlds I had just come from the European under-23 set-up and so it was all excitement and I was going for the experience.
“But I’ve been in this type of arena before so now I just want to go there and make the final.
“Last time I only made the semis so it’s time to go there and make an improvement.
“You are always learning something new and with the hurdles I know that anything can happen.
“If you make one mistake on the hurdles it can be all over. I’m looking forward to it, I used to be scared before but there is nothing to be scared of now.
“It’s going to be a big stadium packed out but I like that.
“Another selection for the team paves the way for me to achieve my dreams next year.”
Shakes-Drayton’s heroics in Barcelona to take bronze last summer have led to the inevitable predictions and hype that the home-grown talent can be on the podium at London 2012.
However, the 22-year-old insists she won’t be getting ahead of herself, as she’s well aware of the weakness of the continental field compared to next week.
“Barcelona gave me confidence but the world wasn’t all there,” she added. “The Worlds are similar to the Olympics obviously so that’s how you indicate where you are.
“It’s all good getting a European medal but it’s time to step up now.”
Perri Shakes-Drayton is at an Aviva-funded preparation camp. Aviva’s support, both at home and abroad, is helping the team prepare to compete at their best.
To find out more, go to aviva.co.uk/athletics or follow us on Twitter @AvivaAthletics.