Aldama hops, steps and jumps via Cuba and Sudan to GB ranks

It might have happened back in 2003, when Yamile Aldama had just turned 31 and was sitting on top of the world rankings. Instead, eight years on, the Havana-born, London-based triple jumper will be into her 40th year when she finally gets to compete for Britain – in the qualifying round of her event at the World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, on 30 August.

At 39 years, two weeks and two days, Aldama will become the oldest ever debutant for the Great Britain track-and-field team – and the first athlete to compete for three countries from three different continents in the 28-year history of the World Championships. It is an unprecedented hop, step and jump that has taken the mother-of-two from Cuba to Sudan to Britain, the final leg of her journey even taking the Great Britain selectors by surprise.

In naming Aldama yesterday as part of a 67-strong British team who were set a target of seven medals in South Korea, Charles van Commenee, the head coach of UK Athletics, confessed: "It was only on Thursday last week that UK Athletics, including myself, were informed that Yamile had eligibility. UKA had not been involved in that process. It was a request from the athlete straight to the International Association of Athletics Federations.

"The selection panel had to treat her the same as any other British athlete and she met the criteria required to represent the team. It is not as if she has dropped out of the sky. We have known Yamile for a long time.

"She has lived in London for 10 years and she applied for British citizenship 10 years ago. I was actually involved at the time, because I was looking after the jump events in Britain. The outcome of that process was that she did not get a British passport at that time and in order to compete internationally she almost escaped to Sudan."

In fact, while Aldama represented Sudan on the international stage, winning two world indoor championship medals (silver in 2004, bronze in 2006) and finishing fifth at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, she continued to live in London, training with Frank Attoh's jumps group at Barnet Copthall Stadium and competing at club level for Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers. It was a 14.18m jump in the UK Women's League meeting at Winchester on Saturday that clinched her selection in the British team for Daegu.

Aldama moved from Havana to London in 2001 but, despite appeals from UK Athletics, the Home Office would not expedite her citizenship application in time for her to represent Britain at the 2003 World Championships in Helsinki or the 2004 Olympics. It was the prospect of missing the Athens Games that persuaded her to accept an invitation to represent Sudan.

"She has always been a part of British athletics in a way," Van Commenee added. " She has been coached by a British coach, Frank Attoh, so we know her. I think she is definitely capable of making it to the final in Daegu."

There are other new faces in the British team – or newish. James Shane made his senior international debut at the European Team Championships in Stockholm in June, finishing third in the 1500m. The 21-year-old from Billericay, who missed the Emsley Carr Mile at Crystal Palace last Saturday after suffering an Achilles twinge in warm-up, is one of a handful of athletes who have been picked with only B qualifying standards. Aldama and Martyn Rooney are others.

As expected, following his failure to make the first three in the trials, Mark Lewis-Francis has not been given a berth in the individual 100m. He does, however, get a place in the 4x100m relay squad.

If achieved, Van Commenee's seven-medal target would be an improvement of one on the haul from Berlin two years ago. With Mo Farah top of the world rankings at 5,000m and 10,000m, Jessica Ennis No 1 in the heptathlon and Phillips Idowu favourite for the triple jump, there is a realistic possibility of more than half of the tally being met with golds.

"I never rule out nice experiences," Van Commenee said. "We need to improve and that means we have to set a target of seven medals. I've said many times the target for the London Olympics is eight. We should come close 12 months out."

The team will be captained by the 32-year-old Welsh sprinter Christian Malcolm. "I have known him for a long time," Van Commenee said. "I remember in Paris in 2003 finding him playing table tennis in the lobby in the middle of the night, not having a clue about how to prepare properly for a World Championships. He is now one of the most professional athletes that we have in the team.

"He has travelled that journey. He has made the transition I would like to see in every athlete."

Good Korea move: Four new faces for Daegu

Yamile Aldama (triple jump)

Turns 39 on Sunday. Lives in Wembley. Moved to London in 2001 with her Scottish husband. Has competed in the World Championships for Cuba (second in 1999) and Sudan (fourth in 2004).

James Shane (1500m)

Rewarded for stunning victory in trials, fastest time in national championship 1500m for 25 years. Runner-up in European Under-23 Championships last month. Aged 21. From Billericay, Essex.

Jack Green (400m hurdles)

Trains with European and Commonwealth champion Dai Greene. Aged 19. Missed trials with tonsilitis but has improved this summer from 50.49sec to 48.98sec. European U-23 champion.

Holly Bleasdale (pole vault)

Ranked ninth in the world after 4.70m British record vault in Mannheim, Germany, on 2 July. Aged 19. From Euxton in Lancashire. Won European U-23 title last month.

GB Team for World Championships

Men

100m Harry Aikines Aryeetey, Dwain Chambers, Marlon Devonish

200m James Ellington, Christian Malcolm

400m Martyn Rooney

800m Andrew Osagie, Michael Rimmer

1500m James Shane

5,000m Mo Farah

10,000m Farah

110m hurdles Lawrence Clarke, William Sharman, Andy Turner

400m hurdles Jack Green, Dai Greene, Nathan Woodward

High jump Martyn Bernard, Tom Parsons

Pole vault Steve Lewis

Long jump Greg Rutherford, Chris Tomlinson

Triple jump Phillips Idowu

Discus Abdul Buhari, Brett Morse, Carl Myerscough

4x100m Aikines Aryeetey, Devonish, Ellington, Mark Lewis-Francis, Malcolm, Craig Pickering, Danny Talbot

4x400m Richard Buck, Chris Clarke, Green, Greene, Luke Lennon Ford, Nigel Levine, Rooney, Richard Strachan

Marathon Andrew Lemoncello, Lee Merrien, Dave Webb

Women

100m Jeanette Kwakye, Anyika Onuora, Laura Turner

200m Onuora

400m Lee McConnell, Christine Ohuruogu, Nicola Sanders

800m Emma Jackson, Jenny Meadows, Marilyn Okoro

1500m Lisa Dobriskey, Hannah England

5,000m Helen Clitheroe

3,000m steeplechase Barbara Parker

100m hurdles Tiffany Porter

400m hurdles Eilidh Child, Perri Shakes-Drayton

Pole vault Holly Bleasdale, Kate Dennison

Long jump Shara Proctor

Triple jump Yamile Aldama

Javelin Goldie Sayers

Hammer Sophie Hitchon

Heptathlon Jessica Ennis, Louise Hazel

20km race walk Jo Jackson

4x100m Montell Douglas, Kwakye, Onuora, Abi Oyepitan, Asha Philip, Porter, Turner

4x400m Eilidh Child, McConnell, Meadows, Ohuruogu, Okoro, Nadine Okyere, Sanders, Shakes-Drayton

Marathon Alyson Dixon, Susan Partridge

News
A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreThe Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
News
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Stir crazy: Noel Fielding in 'Luxury Comedy 2: Tales from Painted Hawaii'
comedyAs ‘Luxury Comedy’ returns, Noel Fielding on why mainstream success scares him and what the future holds for 'The Boosh'
Life and Style
Flow chart: Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types in 1900, yet scientists have still not come up with an explanation for their existence
lifeAll of us have one. Yet even now, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Arts and Entertainment
'Weird Al' Yankovic, or Alfred Matthew, at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival Screening of
musicHis latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do our experts think he’s missed out?
Sport
New Real Madrid signing James Rodríguez with club president Florentino Perez
sportColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
Travel
Hotel Tour d’Auvergne in Paris launches pay-what-you-want
travelIt seems fraught with financial risk, but the policy has its benefits
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe best children's books for this summer
Life and Style
News to me: family events were recorded in the personal columns
techFamily events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped that
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sustainability Manager

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Scheme Manager (BREEAM)...

Graduate Sustainability Professional

Flexible, depending on experience: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: T...

Programme Director - Conduct Risk - London

£850 - £950 per day: Orgtel: Programme Director - Conduct Risk - Banking - £85...

Project Coordinator/Order Entry, SC Clear

£100 - £110 per day: Orgtel: Project Coordinator/Order Entry Hampshire

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn