Perri Shakes-Drayton among stand out performers for impressive Britain at the European Indoor Championships

The Championships are taking place in Gothenburg

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The Independent Online

Britain enjoyed a successful opening morning at the European Indoor Championships, with Perri Shakes-Drayton in particular justifying her status as a medal contender in Gothenburg.

Hurdles specialist Shakes-Drayton is ranked second in Europe in 2013 over the flat 400 metres and looked in excellent form as she led from the gun to win her heat in 51.70 seconds.

Team-mate and fellow hurdler Eilidh Child, just behind Shakes-Drayton in the rankings, employed the same tactics to win her heat in 52.05secs, but

Shana Cox was third in her race in 52.99s and only advanced as one of the fastest losers.

Shakes-Drayton and Child were the fastest qualifiers for the semi-finals and with Olympic silver medallist Christine Ohuruogu available for the 4x400m relay, a gold medal looks a distinct possibility.

Shara Proctor also reached the long jump final with her first attempt, even though 6.61 metres was four centimetres short of the automatic qualifying distance.

It soon became clear that none of the field would reach that mark, allowing Proctor to pass her two remaining attempts and still go through in equal second place behind Russia's Darya Klishina.

Shakes-Drayton, who missed out on the Olympic 400m hurdles final in London by a single place, said: "I am happy with how I ran. I did enough to get through and hope to get a good lane.

"My God the track is fast. A personal best would be lovely but I've got to make it to the final first."

Proctor was delighted to need just one jump to make the final, adding: "It was either be smart or keep jumping for the next two rounds.

"The field is pretty competitive but I knew that I would make it anyway so I just decided to put my sneakers on and get ready for tomorrow. I was smart about it and I feel wonderful."

All three British men also advanced to the semi-finals of the 400m, with Nigel Levine, Michael Bingham and Richard Strachan third, fourth and fifth fastest overall respectively.

Strachan won his heat in 46.96s, while Levine (46.68) and Bingham (46.92) were content to finish second in their races, with European champion Pavel Maslak of the Czech Republic the fastest qualifier. Ireland's Brian Gregan, ranked number one in Europe this year, won the opening heat to go through.