Search

Olympic hero Sally Gunnell backs Perri Shakes-Drayton for glory

PUBLISHED: 12:00 13 May 2010 | UPDATED: 16:00 05 October 2010

of Great Britain poses during a photo session at the Aviva GB & NI Team Preparation Camp on August 9, 2009 in Monte Gordo, Portugal.

of Great Britain poses during a photo session at the Aviva GB & NI Team Preparation Camp on August 9, 2009 in Monte Gordo, Portugal.

British athletics legend Sally Gunnell has urged 400m hurdler Perri Shakes-Drayton to take her time in her bid to star on the international athletics scene

British athletics legend Sally Gunnell has urged 400m hurdler Perri Shakes-Drayton to take her time in her bid to star on the international athletics scene.

The 21-year-old 400m hurdler had a year to savour in 2009 not only claiming European under-23 gold, but also reaching the semi-finals on her World Championship debut in Berlin.

Shakes-Drayton, who runs for Victoria Park & Tower Hamlets AC, built on that by earning selection for March's World Indoor Championships as part of the 4x400m relay team.

The hurdler helped Great Britain to fifth in Doha and has since begun preparing for the outdoor season by competing over 200m, 600m and 800m close to her Lee Valley base.

And while Gunnell has no doubt Shakes-Drayton has the raw ability to one match her own 400m hurdles gold success from Barcelona in 1992, she is adamant the 2007 European Junior silver medallist continues to learn her trade this year.

"I think Perri is a great talent because she is still very young but the important thing for her now is that she keeps improving," said Gunnell - who was speaking at the launch of the Aviva Elevating Athletics initiative.

"She has got a massive amount of natural ability and a great coach in Christopher Zah so she is in good shape to do well.

"But while there here and now is important she shouldn't be putting too much pressure on herself and she needs to be getting as much experience as she can by going to as many major championships as possible.

"It's important that she doesn't stand still because while she has probably got another Olympics after London, 2012 is a great opportunity for her."

If 2009 was big for Shakes-Drayton, 2010 threatens to be even bigger with July's European Championships and October's Commonwealth Games both potentially on the agenda.

And Gunnell - a holder of three Commonwealth and one European title - insists Shakes-Drayton must settle for a place in the final of either and nothing else.

"On top of everything it is really important that Perri is not only going to these big events but she is going there and making the finals," added Gunnell.

"She has the experience of Berlin last summer and that will really help her out but she needs to make sure at her next major championships she is improving and getting into finals and taking the opportunity."

Sally Gunnell is launching the Aviva Elevating Athletics Fund, providing the opportunity of free training and support to every single teacher in the United Kingdom.

Aviva are also offering schools the chance to win £10,000 for sports facilities.

To enter please visit www.aviva.co.uk/athletics.


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the East London Advertiser. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Latest East London Sports News

Yesterday, 13:00

Leyton Orient head coach Ross Embleton knows they’re not the finished article yet but is way more pleased with progress after their 2-0 victory over Stevenage.

Yesterday, 10:00

West Ham United defensive midfielder Declan Rice believes they’re building something special as they nicked a 1-1 draw against Manchester City.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

League Two: Stevenage 0 Leyton Orient 2

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Premier League: West Ham United 1 Manchester City 1

Friday, October 23, 2020

Leyton Orient head coach Ross Embleton has revealed he spoke with former O’s striker and now Stevenage boss Alex Revell frequently during the original Covid-19 lockdown as they now go head-to-head this weekend.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Sporting Bengal United manager Imrul Gazi is feeling confident after two big wins to correct their slow start to the new Essex Senior League season.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Wapping men secured a 4-2 victory over Bromley and Beckenham to make it three consecutive wins in the Conference East League.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Leyton Orient head coach Ross Embleton was ‘pleased’ for his squad to bounce back to winning ways as they put in a much-better team performance.

PROMOTED CONTENT

With winter fast approaching, it is now more important than ever for us all to carry on following COVID-19 precautions to help stop the spread of the virus by always observing the three-tier local restrictions and remembering three key words – Hands, Face, Space.

The NHS COVID-19 app can make a real difference to how we all tackle the pandemic, protecting our loved ones and those most at risk from coronavirus. Everyone aged 16 and over across England and Wales can download the app for free and play their part in combating the pandemic.

The way the UK does business with Europe changes from January 1, heralding a new start for the small and medium-sized companies. Let’s get businesses ready to take advantage of new opportunities...

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Docklands and East London Advertiser
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now

Latest from the East London Advertiser