Shakes-Drayton confirms Glasgow and Birmingham dates in British Athletics series

Tuesday, 25 December 2012
By Mike Rowbottom

Perri Shakes-Drayton of Great BritainDecember 25 - Perri Shakes-Drayton, Britain's World Indoor 4x400 metres relay gold medallist, has confirmed her participation in both the Glasgow and Birmingham indoor legs of the 2013 British Athletics Series this winter, running her first ever individual 400m flat indoor races.

Shakes-Drayton will start her 2013 campaign at the British Athletics International Match in Glasgow's brand new Emirates Arena on January 26 before lining up in Birmingham's National Indoor Arena (NIA) for the British Athletics Grand Prix on February 16.

The Olympic 400m hurdles semi-finalist will take to the track in the first international athletics event at the 5,000-seater Emirates Arena - the successor to Kelvin Hall, which hosted the International Match for 21 years - before heading to Birmingham three weeks later for what is regarded as the world's best indoor athletics meet.

The 2010 European bronze medallist, who has just turned 24, has regularly competed in 4x400m relays indoors and memorably held off Olympic 400m champion Sanya Richards-Ross to anchor the Great Britain and Northern Ireland team to a gold medal at the World Indoor Championships in Istanbul in March.

Perri Shakes-Drayton European ChampionshipsPerri Shakes-Drayton won bronze at the 2010 European Championships in Barcelona

She has shown impressive 400m form outdoors in the past, including defeating Christine Ohuruogu to win the UK Championships and World Trials in 2011, and boasts an outdoor personal best of 51.26sec.

Although she has regularly competed indoors over 60m, 200m and 800m, the British Athletics International Match will be Shakes-Drayton's first ever indoor individual 400m and the Londoner is hoping that making her debut at the state-of-the-art arena will allow her to start the 2013 season with a bang.

"I've run a lot of relay legs indoors but competing in the individual 400m will be a new experience for me," she said.

"Glasgow and Birmingham attract some of the best in the world so I can't wait to get out and test myself in a really tough race.

"More than anything, these two races are a great chance to compete in front of some loud British crowds again.

"The Olympics showed how much this country loves athletics and our big indoor competitions are always special events, with packed arenas."

The 2009 European Under-23 champion showed her world-class talent by running a 400m hurdles personal best of 53.77 at Crystal Palace last July but was hampered by a hip injury in the Olympic semi-final a month later, narrowly failing to make the final.

Perri Shakes-Drayton of Great Britain London 2012Perri Shakes-Drayton failed to qualify for the 400m final at London 2012 by 0.09 sec outside the qualifying time

The Londoner insists that the experience will drive her on to challenge for a medal at the International Athletics Association Federation (IAAF) World Championships in Moscow next August, with Glasgow 2014 also in mind.

"I showed in my other races last season that I was definitely capable of mixing it with the best in the world so I was disappointed not to get past the semi-finals at London 2012.

"It has only given me more motivation to perform even better in 2013.

"The British Athletics International Match will also give me the chance to get a look at Glasgow's Commonwealth Park.

"Competing in my first ever Commonwealth Games in 2014 is another big target on my radar."

Shakes-Drayton will be joining Olympic high jump bronze medallist Robbie Grabarz, World Indoor pole vault bronze medallist Holly Bleasdale, World Indoor long jump bronze medallist Shara Proctor and Scotland's three-time Olympian Lee McConnell in Glasgow.

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