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Copyright David Dyson
The Newly crowned World Indoor 4x400m relay Champions return from Istanbul. Photograph: David Dyson

13 March 2012

Newly crowned World Indoor 4x400m relay champions Shana Cox, Christine Ohuruogu, Nicola Sanders and Perri Shakes-Drayton, have turned their attention to preparing for their trials battle in 100 days time at the Aviva 2012 Trials in June.

And with the team achieving gold medal glory in Istanbul on Sunday, having never medalled at the world indoors previously, relay places will be a rare commodity as the team will seek to add to its previous two Olympic podium places winning bronze in 1980 and 1992. 

Perri Shakes-Drayton (Chris Zah) made history at the Aviva Trials last year when she took a unique double-gold in the 400m and the 400m hurdles. But with over 750 athletes competing at the Aviva 2012 Trials, Shakes-Drayton knows that this year’s event will be tough with only two automatic qualification spots available in each discipline:

“Everyone's going to be trying to step up their game for the Aviva 2012 Trials. We’re all going for those Olympic places, so it's not going to be easy.

“You have got to treat it like a Championship. You are going against the best in your country so everyone is going to be on their A-game. I'm sure it will be electric.

“We have got a lot of preparation and a lot of training to do and the nerves are going to be building up as the 2012 Trials near.”

Even with Shakes-Drayton likely to prepare over her key event - the 400m hurdles, Cox (Lloyd Cowan), who won the 400m at the Aviva Indoor Trials & Championships and finished fifth in Istanbul, knows that the women’s one lap sprint will be one of the most hotly contested categories at the Aviva 2012 Trials with individual and relay spots available:

"The 2012 Trials this summer are going to be so full of drama and such an exciting event to be part of,” she said.

"As we've just shown with a world indoor title, Great Britain has some incredible talent in the 400m. We're all going to be bringing the best out of each other as we battle for those precious individual 400m places as well as the chance to achieve great things on the relay team.

"It's what we've all been working towards. They are going to be a special few days and a dream come true for everyone that qualifies for the Olympic squad."

For reigning Olympic champion Christine Ohuruogu (Lloyd Cowan), the prospect of running in front of a home crowd at the Games motivates her to do well in one of the most hotly contested categories at the Aviva 2012 Trials:

“The last four years of hard work will all come down to those few days at the Aviva 2012 Trials. There's going to be an absolutely electric atmosphere and it will be tense for all athletes, especially in events where there are a number of genuine contenders fighting for just three places.

“I am aiming to defend my Olympic title in my home city and in front of my home crowd this summer so I will be 100% focused on performing how I know I can at Trials in June and booking my place at London 2012.”

Like Ohuruogu, Nicola Sanders (Tony Lester) – who turns 30 during the Aviva 2012 Trials - is also expecting the 400m category to be one of the most closely fought over the three day event:

“Trials this year are going to be really high pressure,” said the 2007 World silver medallist.

“ It's going to be really close - the 400m girls are all running really fast this year so we're all going to be fighting for those individual spots as well as a place in the relay.”

The women’s 400m races are scheduled for Friday 22 and Saturday 23 June, with the Olympic A standard of 51.55 required to gain automatic selection by finishing in the top two slots.

Back the team and watch over 750 of Britain’s best athletes in action at the Aviva 2012 Trials at the Birmingham Alexander Stadium from 22nd-24th June. For tickets visitwww.uka.org.uk/aviva-seriesor call 08000 55 60 56. An early bird discount of 10% is available until 31st March 2012.