Team GB's Perri Shakes-Drayton books 400m hurdles semi-finals spot


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Londoner Perri Shakes-Drayton tonight powered into the semi-finals of the 400m hurdles, in the Olympic Stadium she can see from the end of her street.

Shakes-Drayton, who was born and raised in Bow, won the final heat in convincing fashion in 54.62 seconds to prove that her personal best at Crystal Palace last month was no fluke.

The 23-year-old ran 53.77secs at the London Grand Prix to clock the joint second fastest time in the world this year behind Russia's Natalya Antyukh, who was the fastest qualifier tonight in 53.90s.

Team-mate Eilidh Child had earlier made hard work of a seemingly straightforward heat made even easier by two of her competitors crashing to the track, the 25-year-old Scot eventually finishing third in 56.14.

"Coming round the final bend I thought just get your butt in gear and get moving. Luckily in the home straight I knew I was in the top four comfortably and I thought just keep working.

"I don't know if I just got a bit too nervous at the start, maybe let the ocassion get to me a bit, so hopefully now I've got that out the way I can just focus on the next race.

"The second hurdle was where it all went wrong and after that I don't know what stride pattern I was doing, but it was all just really stuttery down that back straight. I think I've given my whole family, who are here, and my coach a heart attack watching that to be honest."

Shakes-Drayton, who ran a brilliant anchor leg when Britain won gold in the 4x400m at the World Indoor Championships in March, said: "It was really comfortable and it felt good as now I can safely say I'm through to the semis.

"It was really nerve-wracking but I did what I had to do. I was just trying to look like I was keeping my cool but on the whole they were really good nerves."