Team GB Exclusive: Shakes-Drayton focused on Rio medal after injury
Athletics

Team GB Exclusive: Shakes-Drayton focused on Rio medal after injury

27 May 2016 / 18:12

Perri Shakes-Drayton suffered heartbreak at the London 2012 Olympic Games when she missed out on a place in the 400m hurdles final.

She failed to reach the final after finishing third in her semi-final but was sent through when Denisa Rosolova was disqualified, only for the Czech to successfully appeal the decision.

But that disappointment pales into insignificance when you look at the difficulties with injuries that Shakes-Drayton has suffered since.

Barely 12 months after her London disappointment, the 27-year-old tore her posterior cruciate ligament at the World Athletics Championships in 2013 – she has barely competed since.

The injury even forced her to change event, from the 400m hurdles to the 400m flat, and qualification for the Olympic Games for Team GB this summer would be a remarkable achievement in the eyes of many.

Not for Shakes-Drayton, who says after being an Olympian four years ago, she is desperate to become an Olympic medallist this summer in Rio.

“As athletes that (medals) is what we train for,” she said.

“I’ve experienced a Games already and it’s not really about the taking part to be honest with you, it’s the medals that matter.

“It is very nice to be called an Olympian but it’s even better when you have a medal around your neck.

“To be a medallist at an Olympic Games is a major thing, it’s a life-changing thing.

“It would be awesome because I am returning from such a major injury and you think you’re done but it would be a very good story, hopefully an inspirational one as well.”

Perri Shakes-Drayton

An inspirational story it certainly would be and there are reasons for optimism for the Londoner in her new event of the 400m.

Prior to her injuries, Shakes-Drayton was European Indoor Champion over the distance after her gold in Gothenburg, Sweden.

It was a golden double for her at the Championships as she also topped the podium in the 4x400m relay to further demonstrate her natural speed and power.

An Olympic medal of any colour would be Team GB’s third in a row following the Beijing and London successes of Christine Ohuruogu, Shakes-Drayton’s relay team-mate in 2013.

“Obviously it’s a new event for me, well not exactly new because I have competed at it in the past however you know I am looking forward to it,” Shakes-Drayton explained.

“Trials is obviously where it’s going to matter at the end of June and things are going alright, I have had a few ups and downs. I am looking forward to seeing what potential I can fulfil.

“It’s nice that I have got an event I can go into, there are not many athletes that say they can’t do one event and then be very good at another so I am definitely blessed in that way.”

Sportsbeat 2016

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