Shakes-Drayton staying grounded
July 14, 2012 12:26 pm
Britain's 400 metre hurdler Perri Shakes-Drayton has vowed not to get carried away despite suddenly becoming an Olympic medal contender with a stunning performance in the Aviva London Grand Prix at Crystal Palace.
Despite the presence of world champions Dai Greene and Mo Farah and the second fastest man in history, Tyson Gay, the performance of the night came from Shakes-Drayton in the women's 400 metre hurdles, with the Londoner storming to a surprise win in 53.77 seconds.
Former Olympic champion Sally Gunnell is the only British athlete to have run faster and Shakes-Drayton's time was also joint second fastest in the world this year, taking 0.41s off her personal best set when winning European bronze in Barcelona two years ago.
European champion Irina Davydova of Russia was second and Jamaica's Kaliese Spencer third, with Beijing Olympic champion Melaine Walker more than 1.7s behind Shakes-Drayton in fourth.
Shakes-Drayton had been ranked just 21st in the world before the race, with the 23-year-old admitting on Wednesday that simply reaching the Olympic final would be her goal in London, while Rio 2016 would be a better chance of a medal.
"I'm over the moon with the time," said Shakes-Drayton, who was born and raised close to the Olympic stadium. "I thought it was an opportunity to race the best girls which I haven't had this year.
"I thought 'Come on girl, pull your socks up, you have to go for it', and I sure went for it. I just believed in myself and reminded myself what I've done. I've had a good day at the office.
"It gives me confidence knowing that my training is going well but I'm not going to let it get to me too much. I'm still going to remain level-headed because it's not finished yet."
Greene had been hoping to break Kriss Akabusi's 20-year-old British record of 47.82s in the men's race, but could only finish second behind Puerto Rico's Javier Culson in 48.10s. Jack Green was fourth in a new personal best of 48.60s.
"I think it was my third fastest time ever so I can't be too disappointed," the 26-year-old Welshman said. "I've got a few more weeks to get a bit sharper for the Olympics and I'm going in the right direction I think. I'm looking forward to the Olympics and hopefully I can get one over Culson then."
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