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Perfect ten hurdles for Shakes Drayton

ON TRACK: Shakes-Drayton

IT WAS a case of a perfect ten hurdles by Team GB’s effervescent Perri Shakes-Drayton in the opening round of the 400m hurdles.

Shakes-Drayton, a dark horse to medal in Wednesday’s final sauntered home in a time of 54.62 seconds. The Briton led home Jamaica’s Melaine Walker, the reigning Olympic champion, to give herself a boost for Monday’s semi-finals (August 6). Natalya Antyukh was the opening round’s standard bearer, with the quickest time of all the qualifiers. The Russian clocked 53.90 in the second heat.

East Londoner Shakes-Drayton, 23, first came to prominence at the English Schools Championships where she set a UK junior record time in the 400 m hurdles. She made her first major international appearance at the 2006 World Junior Championships in Athletics where she finished eighth, achieving a new personal best of 57.52 seconds.

Shakes-Drayton is one of the most talked about up and coming names in athletics. She narrowly missed out on making the team for the Beijing Olympics, but has been strongly touted as a potential medallist for London 2012.

The one-lap hurdler has the backing of Olympic 400m hurdles champion Sally Gunnell to go all the way in 2012 and after her exploits at the 2010 European Championships in Barcelona, where she stormed to two bronze medals, many athletics experts are predicting big things for the Londoner.

The youngster is not short on confidence. She once said: "I like people talking about me. It means I must be doing some things right. Now I have to live up to the hype because hype is pointless if you don't live up to it."

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