Porter backed as 'inspirational' despite anthem row

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The chances are that Tiffany Porter will be on the rostrum for the 60m hurdles medal ceremony in the Atakoy Athletics Arena today. Unless Australia's Sally Pearson false-starts or crashes into a barrier, however, the British team captain is unlikely to be singing the national anthem.

In the heats yesterday, Pearson clocked 7.85sec. Porter, an American-born and raised athlete who switched allegiance to the land of her British mother in 2010, was the second fastest qualifier for the semi-finals, winning her heat in 8.00sec.

Questioned about how she felt about being asked whether she knew the words of the national anthem when her appointment as team leader was announced on Thursday, the Michigan native replied: "Right now I'm just focusing on competing."

Former GB team captain Helen Clitheroe offered her support. "Tiffany is an absolutely brilliant team captain," Clitheroe said after qualifying for the 3,000m final. "She gave a brilliant team speech last night and inspired us all. I'm pretty sure if you asked the majority of the team they wouldn't know the words to the national anthem. I do, but it's not a requirement to be our team captain. It's about someone who you can look up to, and Tiffany's that person."