Perri on track for Beijing says coach

PUBLISHED: 11:09 05 June 2008 | UPDATED: 13:20 05 October 2010

By JONATHAN CLEGG PERRI Shakes-Drayton has made a flying start in the race to qualify for the Beijing Olympics after topping the time sheets at the Bedford International Games last weekend. The Victoria Park and Tower Hamlets star cruised to victory in t


PERRI Shakes-Drayton has made a flying start in the race to qualify for the Beijing Olympics after topping the time sheets at the Bedford International Games last weekend.

The Victoria Park and Tower Hamlets star cruised to victory in the 400m hurdles in 57.74 seconds at the Bedford Athletics Stadium on Sunday in her first attempt at the event this season.

The result was more than a second outside her personal best, but it was still good enough to outdo a strong field including Danish national record-holder Sara Petersen.

It was also an improvement of more than two seconds on her opening race last year, putting the 19-year-old firmly on course for a new fastest time at the British Olympic trials in July.

Shakes-Drayton, from Poplar, is currently second in the national rankings behind former Olympic finalist Natasha Danvers Smith and coach Chris Zah is convinced she can book a place on the plane to Beijing with a strong performance at the national trials in July.

"She's got a really good chance because she's already got the [Olympic qualifying] B standard time so we've just go to wait for the GB trials next month," said Zah.

"Nothing is going to be decided until the trials but if she can run well there, she'll have a very strong chance of going to Beijing.

"She's still very young for a 400m hurdler but the experience she would get from competing in an Olympic Games would stand her in good stead for the 2012 Olympics, and that's what we're aiming for."

Shakes-Drayton, a former pupil at Bishop Challoner School, will continue her preparations for the Olympic trials when she competes at the South of England Athletic Association championships at Crystal Palace next weekend.

But Zah admits he has been forced to look abroad to find stronger competition for the teenage Olympic hopeful, with a trip to Germany scheduled for later this month.

"There are no girls around good enough to race her so we've got to find her a race abroad this month," he said.

"She opened the season doing the 800m and set a new personal best by more than 10 seconds, and then she ran the 400m flat a couple of times and won both her races.

"She's been doing the 400m just to get her strength up, but she's set a personal best in that too, and hopefully she could be part of the Great Britain 400m relay team as well."

There were encouraging performances from other Victoria Park and Tower Hamlets athletes at Bedford, with Tunde Balogun and Toleme Ezekiel crossing the line second and third in their men's 100m race in 11.02secs and 11.20secs respectively.

Hamin Lubega finished fifth in his men's 200m race in 22.14secs, a result matched by Ashley Wilson in the men's Under-20 110m hurdles in a time of 15.02secs.

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


Leyton Orient head coach Ross Embleton has explained the reasons behind the Port Vale match being swapped to an earlier kick-off.


Leyton Orient defender Dan Happe insists it’s a rare occasion for him to find the back of the net but was more focused on the clean sheet and picking up the win.


Leyton Orient head coach Ross Embleton heaps praise on young defender Dan Happe as he netted the winner in their 1-0 victory over Bradford City.

Yesterday, 12:00

Leyton Orient head coach Ross Embleton is hoping to be able to stick with a similar line-up for the Bradford City clash on the back of a 3-0 win over Harrogate Town.

Yesterday, 10:00

West Ham United fan and budding journalist Kwame Boakye is now starting to believe that the Hammers can enjoy a successful season in the Premier League.

Mon, 16:31

Spectators are set to return to sports venues next month as coronavirus restrictions are eased in areas with lower infection rates.

Mon, 12:00

London Lions became the first team to qualify for the quarter-finals of the BBL Cup beating the Leicester Riders in fine fashion, 98-89 at the Copper Box.


Let’s get physical! One of the dangers of lockdown is to be lulled into laziness, watching too many box sets, and eating and drinking too much, but there is no excuse to not start exercising to get fit and stay healthy.

UK Government Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced extra measures to support workers and businesses throughout winter, including a furlough scheme extension paying 80 per cent of staff wages.

The way the UK does business with Europe changes from January 1, heralding a new start. All companies that trade with the EU need to act now to make sure they are set to go.

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

Latest from the East London Advertiser