Great Britain’s Perri Shakes-Drayton provided the highlight of the BT Great CityGames in Manchester by beating Russia’s London Olympic 2012 Games 400m Hurdles champion Natalya Antyukh and setting a World best of 25.74 in the rarely-run straight 200m Hurdles on Saturday (25).
The previous best time on record was 25.82 by France’s Patricia Girard in 1999. Shakes-Drayton, a 2012 Olympic Games semi-finalist in her specialist event, has already enjoyed a hugely productive 2013 by winning gold medals in the 400m and 4x400m at the European Indoor Athletics Championships.
She was making her first outing over barriers this season and triumphed on the purpose-built track, running alongside shops and coffee bars as well as cheering spectators, and into a headwind. Antyukh was a distant second in 26.23.
”I'm very pleased with today. My flat speed is really good and my hurdling has been going all right in training so I thought if I put the two together I must do something decent today,” said Shakes-Drayton.
“She (Antyukh) is the 400m Hurdles Olympic champion, that gives me confidence, but that's not the 400m hurdles, that's not going to get to my head now. I've got a bit of speed in me so we'll see what happens when it comes to the (400m) Hurdles.''
Another 2012 Olympic champion, US sprinter Allyson Felix, who won the 200m and was part of both the USA’s triumphant Relay teams in London before being named IAAF World Athlete of the Year, also achieved a World best in the 150m with 16.36; although it should be noted that her late compatriot Florence Griffith Joyner ran faster during her still-standing 200m World record at the Olympic Games in Seoul when she was timed at 16.10.
With minimal wind-assistance, Felix passed 50m in 6.16 and 100m in 11.06. In second place, Great Britain’s Anyika Onuora lowered her national best to 16.63, passing 100m in 11.20.
The best men’s performance was by German pole vaulter Malte Mohr, who cleared 5.80m in Albert Square, right in front of Manchester’s Town Hall.
Great Britain’s 2012 Olympic champion Greg Rutherford won the Long Jump at the same location with 7.99m while France’s Christophe Lemaitre closed proceedings with a win in the 150m., clocking 14.90 into a 1.0 wind with a flying last 100m of 9.14.
Phil Minshull and Mark Butler for the IAAF