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."

News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
Sport
Romelu Lukaku puts pen to paper
sport
News
Robyn Lawley
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unhappy days: Resistance spy turned Nobel prize winner Samuel Beckett
books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
Life and Style
Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
gamingOnce stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
News
i100
Life and Style
Phones will be able to monitor your health, from blood pressure to heart rate, and even book a doctor’s appointment for you
techCould our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?
News
people
Extras
indybest
Travel
Ryan taming: the Celtic Tiger carrier has been trying to improve its image
travelRyanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?
Sport
Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
commonwealth games
Life and Style
Slim pickings: Spanx premium denim collection
fashionBillionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers 'thigh-trimming construction'
News
Sabina Altynbekova has said she wants to be famous for playing volleyball, not her looks
people
News
i100
Life and Style
tech'World's first man-made leaves' could use photosynthesis to help astronauts breathe
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

SAP Project Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP PROJECT MANAGER - 3 MONTHS - BERKSHI...

SAP Project Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP PROJECT MANAGER - 3 MONTHS - BERKSHI...

Senior Investment Accounting Change Manager

£600 - £700 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Senior Investment Accounting Change...

Microsoft Dynamics AX Functional Consultant

£65000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: A rare opportun...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star