Victoria Park & Tower Hamlets athletics star Perri Shakes-Drayton picks up double bronze in Barcelon

Victoria Park & Tower Hamlets athlete Perri Shakes-Drayton has never been short on confidence and after taking the European Championships by storm, she declared she was born to perform on the big stage

Victoria Park & Tower Hamlets athlete Perri Shakes-Drayton has never been short on confidence and after taking the European Championships by storm, she declared she was born to perform on the big stage.

Shakes-Drayton, the 400m hurdler, who has already made a name for herself in athletics circles - for her colourful personality just as much as her undeniable talent - romped to two European bronze medals in Barcelona, coming third in the 400m hurdles and followed that up by leading the 4 x400m relay team home

It's further evidence of a rapid rise through the ranks for Shakes-Drayton, who won European Under-23 gold last year, as she moved to third on the all-time UK list in Barcelona after clocking a time of 54.18seconds.

Two years ago Shakes-Drayton sprung onto the scene clinching victory at the UK Championships, which doubled as the Olympic trials, but was forced to watch the Games from home as British selectors plumped for Tasha Danvers instead.


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It was a decision vindicated as Danvers collected a shock bronze in Beijing, but as Shakes-Drayton finally reached a major championship final, the 21-year-old seized it with both hands.

"It was wicked," said Shakes-Drayton, who collected bronze in the same stadium that fellow 400m hurdler Sally Gunnell stormed to Olympic gold on, 18 years ago.

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"I said that the best I could do was fifth when in all honestly I was just delighted to get to the final. I was out in lane seven as well which didn't help but I just had to go for it and to come out with a medal is just unbelievable.

"I'm always expecting more of myself to be honest and I'm never happy. I'm a performer and I think I do my best on the big stage and in the big races. I knew that anything could happen when it got round to the final."

While Shakes-Drayton was denied an Olympic trip to the Far East in 2008, she is already a seeming certainty to don the British vest in her home town at London 2012, should she continue her current rate of progress.

And with her confidence brimming Shakes-Drayto, who made her senior British debut at the World Championships last year, insists she's hungry for more success.

"I know there is more to come," she added. "My coach (Chris Zah) tells me to keep the faith and said it would come.

"I said fifth would be great and I got bronze but I always want more. I should be there at the 2012 Olympics if I'm continuing the progress I have made every year since I was a junior through to the seniors."

Aviva's support, both at home and abroad, is helping the team prepare to compete at their best. Watch the Aviva GB & NI Team live in action at the Aviva London Grand Prix. For more details visit aviva.co.uk/athletics

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