Britain snaps up 2012 long jump contender Proctor

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The Independent Online

British Athletics acquired another ready-made world class recruit yesterday with the announcement that Shara Proctor, a long jumper and triple jumper, has switched allegiance from the Caribbean island of Anguilla.

Having placed sixth in the long jump at the World Championships in Berlin last year, the 22-year-old will be a notable addition to the Great Britain squad in the countdown to the home Olympics of 2012 – as will the 100m hurdler Tiffany Ofili, whose transfer from the United States was announced by UK Athletics two months ago and rubber-stamped by the International Association of Athletic Federations in Monaco last weekend.

Ofili, a bronze medallist for the US at the 2006 World Junior Championships, has a British mother. Proctor has had British citizenship since birth. Like Ofili, she has been placed on Podium level Lottery funding by UK Athletics.

"I'm happy to welcome Shara into the team," Charles van Commenee, head coach of UK Athletics, said. "She's a high-calibre athlete who has proven to be able to make finals at global championships. We are not strong in women's field events at the moment. The fact that Shara has decided to represent Britain from now on will make the team stronger."

That team has already been strengthened by recruits from overseas in recent years. The Jamaican-born Germaine Mason won Olympic high jump silver for Britain in 2008, while Michael Bingham, a former US junior decathlete, took silver in the 400m at the European Championships in Barcelona in July.