World Championships 2013: Perri Shakes-Drayton hopes shaking off demons has silver lining
The 400m hurdler will go for gold this afternoon
the Luzhniki Stadium
Wednesday 14 August 2013
Perri Shakes-Drayton has already overcome one particular hurdle: making her first major global final. Having missed out at the 2011 World Championships and last summer's Olympic final, she can now have aspirations to add a third gold medal to Britain's tally so far later tonight.
Despite enjoying the season of her life, in which she won double gold at the European Indoors and sealed victory at the European Team Championships, silver is looking the colour most likely to be draped around her neck in the 400m hurdles today.
Zuzana Hejnova has yet to put a foot wrong this season and, while her London 2012 rival has beaten her in the past, she is yet to do so this season. Shakes-Drayton's biggest obstacle has been to overcome the mental block of not making a global final. Now she says she is running free from those shackles – and anything is possible.
Asked about coming up short at the Olympics, she said: "It came into my head [in the semi-finals]. I thought to myself, 'I've been here before'. Then I thought, 'why are you thinking like this, Perri? You've got to put that behind you because it's in the past. Come on, you feel good'. You've got to forget about the past and think about the positives."
The British team have reason to be positive going into the sixth day of competition here in Moscow. There are two other potential medal candidates in Robbie Grabarz and Hannah England.
Both have endured mixed seasons but they have major championship pedigree: Grabarz won high jump bronze at last year's Olympics and England won 1500m silver at the 2011 Worlds in Daegu.
In 2012, Grabarz was consistently jumping in the mid to high 2.30s. But his best this season of 2.31m is some way shy of the British record of 2.37m he equalled in Lausanne last year.
However, in qualifying the consistency appeared to be back, which Grabarz will be hoping to replicate come the final. As for assessing his year so far, he simply said: "It's been a crap season really but I've had to be patient and we'll see what happens on Thursday."
Most major championships tend to throw up a surprise medal for Britain, which is exactly what England's silver was in Daegu, the Oxford athlete producing a stunning burst in the home straight on that occasion.
In her semi-final, she was boxed in and was lucky the field opened up to allow her through to one of the fastest loser spots. England has always said "anything can happen in a 1500m final". Such is her experience and the unpredictability of middle-distance running, the field is wide open.
Coming up today: Moscow highlights
6.55am BST Women's 800m heats (M Okoro, J Judd, L Muir)
7.55am Women's 200m heats (A Onuora, J Williams)
4pm Men's high jump final (R Grabarz)
4.05pm Men's 4x400m relay heats (Great Britain & Northern Ireland)
4.45pm Women's 200m semi-finals
5.20pm Men's 3,000m steeplechase
5.45pm Women's 400m hurdles final (P Shakes-Drayton, E Child)
6pm Men's 400m hurdles final (F Sanchez)
6.20pm Women's 1500m final (H England)
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