Cox marks debut by doing bit for Britain

American-born 400m runner takes 'plastic Brit' insults in her stride to earn 10 valuable points in European Team Championships

She comes from Hicksville, USA – the hamlet on Long Island where Billy Joel and Lorraine Bracco of The Sopranos and Goodfellas fame were also raised. Shana Cox was a pupil at Holy Trinity Diocesan High School, Hicksville, when she set a US high school record for the 300 metres. Yesterday she was running in the red, white and blue of Great Britain on the first day of the European Team Championships.

In the 1912 Olympic Stadium, where the future US Second World War general George Patton finished fifth in the modern pentathlon, Cox took her first steps on the road to becoming one of the home heroes at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Running in the 400m, she finished third in 51.49 seconds, earning 10 points for the country she decided to join last winter. The 26-year-old has dual nationality. Both of her parents are Londoners.

A student in human resource management at Penn State University, Pennsylvania, Cox is well placed to consider the phenomenon of the overseas recruits who are bolstering the GB track and field team – "the Plastic Brits", as the Daily Mail, the newspaper that brought Zola Budd from South Africa to Britain, chose to christen them last week.

"Of course, there's going to be some criticism, but it doesn't really bother me," she said. "There are other things that are more entertaining than my situation and I'm sure it'll get old after a while."

Cox's case is similar to that of Tiffany Ofili-Porter, who made her GB debut at the European Indoor Championships in Paris in March and who will run in the 100m hurdles here this afternoon. A native of Ypsilanti, Michigan, Ofili-Porter has a British mother and a British passport. She is seventh in the world rankings in the 100m hurdles, behind a Canadian and five Americans. Her prospects of claiming one of the three American spots in her event for the London Olympics were less than 50-50. The same could be said of Cox, who is 12th in the world for the 400m, the top Briton – way ahead of the injury-plagued Olympic champion Christine Ohuruogu – but behind six Americans.

From the perspective of Charles van Commenee, the head coach of UK Athletics, the acquisition of the women from Hicksville and Ypsilanti is a mutually beneficial piece of human resource management. The same applies to Shara Proctor, who makes her GB debut in the long jump this afternoon. Her case is different to those of the American-born duo; she would be unable to represent her homeland in London next year because Anguilla has no Olympic affiliation. The Caribbean island is a British territory and she has held a British passport since birth.

You could argue that the new Brits are plastic and far from fantastic, but they are as British as Michael Bingham, the US-born 400m runner, and Germaine Mason, the Jamaican-born high jumper, who have won major championship medals for Britain in recent years.

Of the British-born athletes who were in action yesterday, Dai Greene won the 400m hurdles with ease in 42.91sec and the men's 4 x 100m relay quartet won in 38.60sec. At the end of day one Britain were third in the overall rankings, behind Russia and Germany.

The British performance of the day came in the women's javelin, Goldie Sayers re-emerging after two injury-ravaged seasons with a throw of 64.46m for second place behind the 66.22m of Christina Obergfoll, the German who beat her to Olympic bronze in Beijing. In the men's 100m the 33-year-old Dwain Chambers trailed in the slipstream of the 21-year-old Frenchman Christophe Lemaitre, finishing second in 10.07sec.

Twitter row: Van Commenee rebuke a 'blatant lie', says Idowu

World triple jump champion Phillips Idowu yesterday hit back at Charles van Commenee's accusation that he lacked "responsibility and dignity" by announcing his withdrawal from the European Team Championships on Twitter. Idowu disputed the head coach's assertion that he had informed him of his displeasure.

"I haven't spoken to Charles van Commenee since I came back from a warm weather training camp in May, so that's a blatant lie," Idowu claimed in a BBC radio interview. Neither Van Commenee nor any other UK Athletics official were prepared to respond as the rift deepened.

Idowu added: "I said on a number of occasions, 'I'm not going to compete.' That seems to have [been] lost somewhere. Whether Charles picked up the messages or not, that's got nothing to do with me. That's due to his staff. It's kind of unfair that he's saying that 'Phil's an idiot because he tweets.' My aim is to jump as well as I can, go out there and win gold for my country. I don't need this kind of rubbish."

Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Sport
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Voices
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
tv
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine