Former Radley ace Hatti Dean insisted the world was her oyster after she smashed her lifetime best, but missed out on a European medal by the narrowest of margins in Barcelona.

The ex-St Helen and St Katherine’s School pupil was sent to Spain to gain experience, but immediately made her mark by upstaging British No 1 Barbara Parker in reaching the final.

Dean revelled in her second outing at the stadium where Linford Christie and Sally Gunnell claimed Olympic gold 18 years ago, carving almost eight seconds off her lifetime best.

And after clocking 9.30. 19minutes to chase home eventual bronze medallist Lyubov Kharlamova, the 28-year-old admitted she was desperate to join the duo in Britain’s hall of fame.

“I just can’t believe how I ran, it was so much more than I expected,” said Dean, who finished fourth by 0.37seconds.

“I didn’t think I was in it for a bronze until about halfway through and even then I wasn’t sure but I know now that other people are tiring as well.

“The experience has taught me that everyone else goes through the same things you go through and it has given me great confidence.

“It has made me believe that a medal is a real possibility in the future and I want to go into some quick races now and see how far I can go.”