27th July 2010

Strong Start In Barcelona


27 July 2010

In the unsheltered heat of the Spanish morning sunshine, the Aviva Great Britain and Northern Ireland team started their European championship campaigns making good progress in the women’s 400m hurdles and the men’s 400m, with all athletes through to their next rounds.

First to fly the team strip featuring the Union flag was Aviva UK Trials winner Perri Shakes-Drayton (Coach: Chris Zah) who ran a well structured race to finish a confident second behind Romania’s Angela Morosanu , Shakes-Drayton’s time of 55.35 a strong opener in the first track race of the championships.

With the top three guaranteed to progress in each race it was job done for the Victoria Park and Tower Hamlets athlete who said: “That was hard. It’s so hot but also so early in the morning!” she gasped soon after, “I hit my knee on a hurdle and the lactic is starting to kick in so I’m off to physio!”

Two heats later and it was time for team mate Eilidh Child (Stuart Hogg) to take her place, and out in lane eight she made no mistakes and went out hard, taking the field through the first few flights of hurdles.

Entering the home straight Bulgaria’s Vania Stambolova took the lead from an inside lane – leaving Child to battle for second spot alongside Russia’s Natalya Ivanova, the Brit taking the second with 55.82.

 “In the warm up area it was pretty cool and shaded but out on the track it was just completely open but it was ok,” concluded the Pitreavie athlete.

“I used to be really bad in the heat, obviously… I’m from Scotland! But the Aviva camp in Portugal has definitely helped me.

“I had to just go out hard – because I was in lane 8 – and didn’t know what was behind me, but it’s fine because now I have the whole day tomorrow to rest and recover.”

Leading the qualifiers into Wednesday night’s semi final was Russian Natalya Antyukh – who dominated the fourth heat in an easy looking 54.29 demonstrating just why she is ranked third in the world in 2010.