Perri and Leevan in Olympic auditions

PUBLISHED: 10:55 10 July 2008 | UPDATED: 13:26 05 October 2010

By JONATHAN CLEGG FOR athletes used to dealing in fractions of a second, the next six days will seem like an awfully long time. That is how long Great Britain s Olympic hopefuls must wait before the first wave of selections for the Beijing Games are anno


FOR athletes used to dealing in fractions of a second, the next six days will seem like an awfully long time.

That is how long Great Britain's Olympic hopefuls must wait before the first wave of selections for the Beijing Games are announced by the British Olympic Association next week.

The decisions will make dreams and shatter hopes among the country's top competitors, who have been preparing for this moment for the past four years and whose prospects of making Team GB could hinge on their performances at the National Championships this weekend.

Victoria Park and Tower Hamlets pair Leevan Yearwood and Perri Shakes-Drayton will travel to the Birmingham Alexander Stadium for the event, which doubles as the country's Olympic trials, with genuine hopes of making the team for China.

Yet neither appears overawed by the challenge ahead.

Despite missing the start of the season through injury - and currently nursing a sore quadriceps - Yearwood is confident he can rise to the occasion in the 100m and catch the eye of the selectors.

"I haven't really got into my stride this year because I've had a few injuries, but I feel good and I'm not far away," Yearwood says.

"I reckon I can run pretty quick up there and you've got to be positive. You've got to go in there with a degree of confidence or else you're in trouble."

Shakes-Drayton (inset) lives on the same street as Yearwood in Poplar, and also shares the sprinter's positive approach, despite being a relative newcomer to the pressures of high-level


The talented teenager has enjoyed an irresistible rise in the sport since winning the 400m hurdles at the England Schools Championships in a UK record time three years ago, highlighted by a sliver medal at the European Junior championships last summer.

"I suppose I'll be a bit

nervous but I'm just

hoping that the better competition

will help pull me along," says Shakes-Drayton, who has already achieved the Olympic B standard time but remains a second outside the A standard.

"It helps that I don't tend to concentrate on anyone else who is running. When I was younger I used to make that mistake, but you can't let it affect you. I feel good, my training is going well, so what is there to worry about?"

Shakes-Drayton seems to be hitting peak form at just the right time, having posted a season's best of 57.01secs in Italy a fortnight ago - the second fastest time by a British runner this year.

That result is still half a second outside her personal best of 56.46secs but if she matches that in Birmingham, a place in the team for Beijing would appear all but assured.

She will not find out for sure until the team is announced next Wednesday and it is only after she has crossed the finish line that the nerves will really start to jangle.

"I won't have a clue how fast I've gone until I cross the line," she says. "I never know if I'm going really fast when I'm on the track.

"Once it's over, I'll just be keeping my fingers crossed until [the team is announced]. It would mean so much to be in Beijing.

Latest East London Sports News

54 minutes ago

FIFA has approved the extension of player contracts until seasons are able to finish and the movement of transfer windows in response the coronavirus pandemic.


An image of Ben Stokes just after he hit the winning runs in the third Specsavers Test between England and Australia at Headingley has won the Wisden–MCC Photograph of the Year competition for 2019.


Former England, Tottenham and West Ham striker Jimmy Greaves is currently receiving treatment in hospital.

Yesterday, 17:21

Royal Ascot will take place behind closed doors this season, if it goes ahead as planned in June.

Yesterday, 16:54

Leyton Orient dubbed their FIFA Ultimate Quaran Team Cup a huge success after the tournament’s global reach and money raised for EFL clubs and selected charities.

Yesterday, 16:00

How well do you know east London football or are you just a quiz master, why not put your knowledge to the test.

Yesterday, 15:13

Football Association chairman Greg Clarke says everyone involved in the game must “step up and share the pain” as talks between players and clubs over wage deferrals and cuts continue.


Festival organisers AEG Presents will once again be providing a variety of exciting opportunities for young people at this year’s event

Looking to rent in London? Securing the keys to a new home in any big city can be an ordeal but there is a way to avoid the common pitfalls of London rentals - dodgy landlords, dubious décor and downright dicey security.

Cauldron Foods’ comedy night will give vegans the last laugh as Vegan comics dispel vegan myths.

Most read sport

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Docklands and East London Advertiser
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now

Most Read

Latest from the East London Advertiser