Olympic hopefuls Shakes-Drayton and Yearwood in British squad
PUBLISHED: 17:24 08 July 2009 | UPDATED: 14:32 05 October 2010
2008 Getty Images
London 2012 hopefuls Perri Shakes-Drayton and Leevan Yearwood have been selected for the European Under-23 championships after shattering their lifetime bests
London 2012 hopefuls Perri Shakes-Drayton and Leevan Yearwood have been selected in the Great Britain squad for the European Under-23 championships in Lithuania after shattering their lifetime bests this month.
The Victoria Park and Tower Hamlets duo, who live on the same street in Poplar, were last week named in the official 52-man squad for the championships, which begin in Kaunas on July 16.
Shakes-Drayton will enter the competition as favourite to win 400m hurdles gold after climbing to No1 in the European Under-23 rankings following a stunning triumph at the England Championships in Bedford last week.
The 19-year-old, who shocked Olympic bronze medallist Tasha Danvers to become British champion in Birmingham last year, has been in fine form on the flat this season, setting a new personal best of 52.98secs in the 400m.
And Shakes-Drayton (pictured) maintained that form in Bedford, setting the stadium alight by smashing her lifetime record in the 400m hurdles to clinch a championship best time of 55.34secs and defeat defending champion Eilidh Child by two hundredths of a second.
Shakes-Drayton's time, which represents an improvement of more than 0.75secs on her previous best, moves the East London star to second on the UK all-time Under-23 list and also gives her the A standard for the World Championships in Berlin.
But the talented teenager will put thoughts of competing in Germany on hold to concentrate on securing Under-23 glory this month.
She said: "I am very excited and now I have got to rise up to my challenges to come. I am going for gold in Lithuania later in July."
Yearwood, who is coached alongside Shakes-Drayton by sprint guru Chris Zah, has also emerged as a contender for Kaunas after posting a blistering time of 10.10secs in the 100m B race at the Bislett Games in Oslo last week.
Backed by a very strong following wind, Yearwood cut more than a tenth of a second off his previous personal best of 10.22secs and finished fourth behind Jamaican duo Asafa Powell and Michael Frater and Antigua's Daniel Bailey.
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