Gunnell the inspiration for Shakes-Drayton

Perri Shakes-Drayton will bid to follow in the footsteps
of Sally Gunnell in Moscow tomorrow night by being crowned the world 400 metres hurdles champion.

The Londoner roared into her first global outdoor final where she is set to go head to head with Czech gold medal favourite Zuzanna Hejnova. Scotland’s Eilidh Child made it a British double in the final and is in the form of her life, but it is with Shakes-Drayton that the genuine podium hopes lie.

It is almost 20 years to the day since Gunnell won the world title in Stuttgart in a then world record of 52.74 seconds. Shakes-Drayton is still some way off that, but the 24-year-old has a point to prove after the agony of missing out on a place in the London 2012 final in her home town. “People have expectations, and I have expectations of myself, but I don’t see it as pressure,” she said.

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Standing in her way is Hejnova, one of the most dominant athletes on the track this summer. She beat Shakes-Drayton into second at the Anniversary Games, running a world leading 53.07. Indeed, she has run five of the six fastest times of the year and reckons there is more to come after cruising through her semi-final.

Meanwhile, Jamie Bowie has revealed he has been inspired to help Great Britain on their way to relay gold after listening to a rallying cry from team captain Christine Ohuruogu. The 24-year-old from Inverness is in line to make his World Championship debut this afternoon in the heats of the 4x400 metres following his shock call-up for Moscow. The words of Ohuruogu, who struck gold in the 400m on Monday, put his mind at ease. “I was engrossed in it,” the Scot said. “It was interesting listening to her rally the troops.”

Laura Muir lines up this morning in the heats of the 800 metres.