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."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
life
News
news

The party's potential nominations read like a high school race for student body president

Voices
A mother and her child
voices
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Arts and Entertainment
Cold case: Aaron McCusker and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvReview: Sky Atlantic's ambitious new series Fortitude has begun with a feature-length special
Voices
Three people wearing masks depicting Ed Miliband, David Cameron and Nick Clegg
voicesPolitics is in the gutter – but there is an alternative, says Nigel Farage
News
i100
News
people
Sport
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
footballI have never seen the point of lambasting the fourth official, writes Paul Scholes
Life and Style
Vote green: Benoit Berenger at The Duke of Cambridge in London's Islington
food + drinkBanishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turn over a new leaf
News
Joel Grey (left) poses next to a poster featuring his character in the film
peopleActor Joel Grey comes out at 82
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

Recruitment Genius: IT Technical Support Engineer - PC/Mac

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company are cur...

Ashdown Group: Product Manager - (Product Marketing, Financial Services)

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...

Recruitment Genius: External Relations Executive

£33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An External Relations Executive is requi...

Ashdown Group: Web Developer (PHP & Wordpress) - Central London

£25000 - £28000 per annum + 25 days holidays & pension: Ashdown Group: Web Dev...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee