Shakes-Drayton ready for Birmingham after hamstring tightness at London 2012
LONDON 2012 didn't go to plan for local girl Perri Shakes-Drayton, but after recovering from the hamstring injury that derailed her medal hopes the 400m hurdler is aiming high at this weekend's Aviva Birmingham Grand Prix.
BACK WITH A BANG: Perri Shakes-Drayton has revealed how she suffered from tightness during the 400m hurdles semi-final at London 2012
Shakes-Drayton was a medal contender going into the Olympics after defeating a world-class field to post a new personal best of 53.77seconds at Crystal Palace last month.
The 23-year-old's time was the second fastest in the world this year going into London 2012, but a ‘mystery' hamstring problem struck in the capital, with Shakes-Drayton finishing third in her semi final, and subsequently missing out on a final berth, in a below-par time of 55.19.
But after licking her wounds and returning to fitness, she is fully focused on giving the Birmingham crowd something to cheer about when she locks horns with the likes of Olympic champion Natalya Antyukh in the UK's final Samsung Diamond League meet of the year.
"During the warm up, prior to the semi-final I felt my hamstring tighten up and I did my best to make it feel better," said Shakes-Drayton, who returned to the Olympic Stadium to help Team GB finish fifth in the 4x400m relay.
"The opportunity of being at the Olympics, I'm not going to pull out. I was hoping I was going to pull though. But like a lot of people have said, I didn't look like the same athlete that people noticed in the heat.
"It was tightness, only tightness. I had a scan to find out if it was serious and the scan didn't show anything of concern, it was just tightness, so general soft tissue physio sorted it out.
"I'm now looking forward to racing at the Aviva Birmingham Grand Prix and I'm really excited about running in front of the home support again,"
Shakes-Drayton will be up against it in Birmingham with Russia's Antyukh joined by bronze medallist Zuzana Hejnova in a star-studded start list.
But the European bronze medallist insists she will not be there to make up the numbers as she looks forward to the next chapter of her career.
"I am going to the Grand Prix to try and finish in the top three against a quality field, but hopefully I can give myself a chance of winning the race," she added.
"Now the Olympics are over I'm looking towards next year's World Championships in Moscow and when I go there I am looking to be a medal contender.
"Rio 2016 is obviously a goal, but it is a long-term goal. I'm not thinking about it yet, because I have a lot more events and major championships between now and then."
Back the team and watch the world's best athletes in action at the Aviva Birmingham Grand Prix at the Alexander Stadium this Sunday. Live coverage on BBC2 from 1.30-5pm.
© Sportsbeat 2012