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Perri on track for Olympics

PUBLISHED: 14:48 19 June 2008 | UPDATED: 13:22 05 October 2010

Perri Shakes-Drayton has continued her quest to qualify for this summer s Beijing Olympics Games by setting a new season s best time at the South of England championships on Sunday.

By JONATHAN CLEGG

PERRI Shakes-Drayton has continued her quest to qualify for this summer's Beijing Olympics Games by setting a new season's best time to take gold at the South of England championships on Sunday.

Shakes-Drayton cruised to victory in the 400m hurdles in 57.69secs to highlight a strong showing from Victoria Park and Tower Hamlets athletes at Crystal Palace.

Leevan Yearwood clinched second place in the men's 100m in a season's best of 10.48secs to maintain his return to form following injury and promising 16-year-old Jordan Aromasodu took bronze in the Under-20 400m.

For Shakes-Drayton, who won the Under-20 title at the championships last year, the triumph in the senior women's race was another important step in her bid to make the Great Britain team for China.

The 19-year-old, from Poplar, has already achieved the Olympic B standard for qualification and is currently rated second in the national rankings behind former Olympic finalist Tasha Danvers-Smith.

Shakes-Drayton, who also celebrated finishing her school exams this week, will travel to Italy next weekend to test herself against some of the leading hurdlers in Europe before returning home for the British Olympic trials in July.

"It's been quite stressful trying to juggle training with revision but now she's getting ready to go to Italy and then we'll have two weeks to prepare for the Olympic trials," said coach Chris Zah.

"She's a bit handicapped by the lack of competition in this country but she's already achieved a personal best in the 400m flat this season, so getting the A standard at the trials is a possibility."

Yearwood also has ambitions of making the British 4x100m relay team for Beijing and Zah is optimistic about his prospects following a strong display in the individual event at Crystal Palace, where he was beaten into second by Dwain Chambers.

The 20-year-old sprinter was sidelined for 13 weeks with a groin injury before returning to training this summer and Saturday's race was his first appearance at a major meeting this season.

"His performance was even better when you consider that was his first competitive race," said Zah, adding that a strong headwind had undermined his attempt to post a faster time.

Yearwood, who was the top European junior 100m runner last season, has another chance to impress the selectors in the AAA Under-23 championships on Saturday.

Further success for Victoria Park and Tower Hamlets athletes at Crystal Palace came from Ashley Wilson, who finished seventh in the 110m hurdles in 15.05secs and Dave Alcock, who came ninth in the 5,000m in 15mins 24.82secs.


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