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Great Shakes as Perri storms to Euro title

PUBLISHED: 15:07 22 July 2009 | UPDATED: 14:36 05 October 2010

BIRMINGHAM, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 12:  Perri Shakes Drayton of Great Britain celebrates after winning the Women's 400m Hurdles Final during the Aviva National Championships & Olympic Trials at Alexander Stadium on July 12, 2008 in Birmingham, England.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

BIRMINGHAM, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 12: Perri Shakes Drayton of Great Britain celebrates after winning the Women's 400m Hurdles Final during the Aviva National Championships & Olympic Trials at Alexander Stadium on July 12, 2008 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

2008 Getty Images

Perri Shakes-Drayton has captured a first major international title after storming to 400m hurdles glory at the European Under-23 Championships in Lithuania

By JONATHAN CLEGG

Perri Shakes-Drayton has captured a first major inter-national title this week after storming to 400m hurdles glory at the European Under-23 Championships in Lithuania.

Shakes-Drayton, from Poplar, is considered one of Britain's leading prospects for London 2012 and she underlined her potential by taking European gold in a new personal best time of 55.26secs.

The 20-year-old, who travelled to Kaunas as favourite for 400m hurdles gold after rocketing to the top of the European rankings, had briefly looked in danger of missing the competition after suffering an illness last week.

But the Victoria Park and Tower Hamlets star recovered to lead home a British one-two ahead of team-mate Eilidh Child, who took silver in 55.32secs.

"I'm very pleased with the performance and to come out with a personal best in the final," Shakes-Drayton told the Advertiser.

"It's a massive achievement, especially after coming down with an illness.

"I had a belly ache and I thought I'd have to pull out. But I never let it get to me - I just did the same thing I always do and once I got through the first round I started to feel better.

"I'm so pleased with how the weekend went because at the start of the week I wasn't sure I wanted to be there."

Shakes-Drayton's triumph looks certain to earn the East End athlete a berth at the Berlin World Championships next month and she admits that winning gold in Lithuania has eclipsed her previous career high of winning the UK title last year.

"This was the best in Europe so it's my biggest achievement," she said.

Sprinter Leevan Yearwood also made his mark at the championships after netting two European Under-23 medals in Lithuania.

The 21-year-old anchored Britain to victory in the sprint relay and narrowly missed out on individual gold in the 100m after finishing runner-up to British team-mate Harry Aikines-Aryeetey.


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