Shakes-Drayton targets Berlin berth
PUBLISHED: 17:00 15 April 2009 | UPDATED: 14:17 05 October 2010
London 2012 hopeful Perri Shakes-Drayton has set her sights on reaching this summer's World Championships finals in Berlin
London 2012 hopeful Perri Shakes-Drayton has set her sights on reaching this summer's World Championships finals in Berlin as she bids to become the country's leading 400m hurdler.
Shakes-Drayton, from Poplar, was crowned British champion at the Olympic trials in Birmingham last year, but was narrowly pipped for a place in Beijing by Tasha Danvers, who went on to win a bronze medal in China.
Now the 20-year-old is aiming to overcome that disappointment by establishing herself as the country's No1 hurdler ahead of this summer's major championships.
And the East End athlete is confident she can improve on the personal best time of 56.09sec she set at last year's national championships to secure a place in the Great Britain squad for Berlin.
She said: "My goal for this year is to be selected for the World Championships in Berlin and to get a new personal best.
"I'm aiming to run a 55sec because 56.0sec is my [personal best], so running in the 55s I'd be happy, but my coach [Chris Zah] has got different ideas. He wants me to be running in the 54s - let's see if that happens."
While Shakes-Drayton is currently working to achieve those lofty ambitions, she also remains focused on her long-term aim of qualifying for the Olympic finals in 2012.
The Victoria Park and Tower Hamlets star lives just three miles from Stratford and admits that the proximity of the Olympic Stadium site is a big source of motivation.
"Stratford is only round the corner, it's not far at all and every time I'm driving past and I see all the construction and everything going on, it makes me more excited," she said.
"If I made it to the final, I'd be happy because it will be my first Olympics.
"I didn't have the opportunity to go [as a competitor] last year, although I went on a little tour to watch as a spectator. But if I get to the finals in 2012, I'll be happy and a medal would be a bonus.