'Plastic Brit' jibe propels Proctor into contention


The National Indoor Arena

Perhaps it was only to be expected, but after claiming her first British record and beating the host of stars on show to the athlete of the meeting award at the Aviva Grand Prix in Birmingham on Saturday – Jessica Ennis and Liu Xiang amongst them – Shara Proctor was obliged to set the record straight on the subject of her Britishness.

The fact that the 23-year-old long jumper was born and raised on the Caribbean island of Anguilla – where her mother, Wilma, is the director of sport and her father, Orris, was formerly the secretary of education – has got her stuck with the "plastic Brit" label that has been attached to overseas recruits to the British track and field team in the run-up to the London Olympics.

"Anguilla is not recognised by the International Olympics Committee, so I am not able to compete for Anguilla in the Olympics," Proctor said, after breaking the 28-year-old British indoor long-jump record of 6.70m twice over, venturing out to 6.71m in the third round and 6.80m in the last. "It's every athlete's dream to be in the Olympics so I had to do what's best for me: join the team that I could represent at the Olympics."

As Anguilla happens to be a British overseas territory, Proctor is a British passport holder and in November 2010 she switched nationality. Last August she was a member of the GB team at the World Championships in Daegu but failed to get beyond the qualifying round. Her performance on Saturday moved her to fifth place in the world rankings, hinting at medal potential for the World Indoor Championships in Istanbul, starting on 9 March, and for the home from home Olympics.

"I want to be on the podium," Proctor said. "I know I can jump further this summer."

The British outdoor record stands at 6.90m to Bev Kinch but Fiona May – born in Slough and raised in Derby – was just 2cm shy of it before she moved to Italy, changed nationality and became a double world champion and two-time Olympic silver medallist, improving to 7.11m. The Italians did not so much consider her to be plastic; they thought she was rather fantastic.

Asked whether the "Plastic Brit" tag angered her, Proctor said: "No, it doesn't. I use it for motivation. Everybody has an opinion but not everybody knows my background. My heart beats for being a British athlete."

Proctor is also a member of Birmingham's Birchfield Harriers, though her training base is Daytona Beach, Florida. She trains at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University there. One of her training partners is Danielle Carruthers, who took the 100m hurdles silver medal at the World Championships last year, but who was no match for Ennis in the 60m hurdles at the National Indoor Arena on Saturday.

The British multi-eventer beat the American hurdles specialist in 7.87sec, a lifetime best by 0.08sec and the fastest time in the world this year. Ennis also finished third in the long jump with a leap of 6.47m, an indoor personal best. "To come away with two personal bests is brilliant," she said. "It gives you a lot of confidence."

Mo Farah came away from the two miles with a European and British record time of 8min 08.07sec but with his confidence dented somewhat, as runner-up to Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge, one of his predecessors as world 5,000m champion. "It just shows you can take nothing for granted in distance races," said Farah, who will consult his coach, Alberto Salazar, before deciding whether to accept a place in the British team for the World Indoor Championships.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
John Terry, Frank Lampard
footballChelsea captain sends signed shirt to fan whose mum had died
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Rita Ora will replace Kylie Minogue as a judge on The Voice 2015
Life and Style
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
Tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy has been paired with Anton du Beke for Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'm absolutely delighted,' she said.
tvJudy Murray 'struggling' to let Anton Du Beke take control on Strictly
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Teaching Assistant in secondary school Manchester

£11280 - £14400 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Teaching a...

Primary teaching roles in Ipswich

£21552 - £31588 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Randstad Education re...

Science teachers needed in Norwich

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Science teachers requ...

Semi Senior Accountant - Music

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: A successful, Central London bas...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits