Proctor adds Caribbean flavour to lift British medal prospects

Anguilla long jumper and Long Island 400m runner Shana Cox fast tracked to Great Britain debuts

Asked yesterday to assess the state of Britain's track and field strength 14 months out from the London Olympics, Charles van Commenee, the head coach of UK Athletics, spoke of the "interesting early-season performances" produced by Jessica Ennis, Mo Farah, Dai Greene and Greg Rutherford. "It's quite good," the Dutchman concluded, "but we would be quite thin if the Games were to take place this week, or this year. We do need those 14 months to build the team stronger."

The strengthening process will be accelerated next week by the introduction of two new recruits from overseas in the Great Britain squad for the European Team Championships in Stockholm. Shara Proctor, a long jumper from the Caribbean isle of Anguilla, and Shana Cox, a 400m runner from Long Island in the United States, will make their debuts in the 1912 Olympic Stadium a week on Saturday and Sunday in a British team that has already been significantly bolstered by the acquisition of one international transferee this year.

The prospects of Van Commenee hitting his target of eight home medals in the Olympic track and field arena next year could only be enhanced if Proctor and Cox made the kind of instant impact Tiffany Ofili-Porter has achieved. On her Great Britain debut at the European Indoor Championships in Paris in March, the 23-year-old from Ypsilanti, Michigan, won a silver medal and broke Ennis' indoor British record in the 60m hurdles. At the Fanny Blankers-Koen Games in the Netherlands 11 days ago she broke Angie Thorp's 15-year-old British 100m hurdles record, clocking 12.77 seconds.

Ofili-Porter (who added a hyphenated suffix to her maiden name following her marriage to Jeff Porter last month) stands seventh in the world rankings. The fact that all six athletes ahead of her happen to be American underlines the wisdom of the switch she made, courtesy of her British mother. Only the first three finishers at the US trials next summer will get to compete in the 2012 Olympics.

Ofili-Porter will be in the British team in Stockholm next week and her presence will no doubt help Proctor to settle. The pair were room-mates the night before the Aviva International indoor meeting at the Kelvin Hall in Glasgow in January.

"That's the only time I've been to Britain," Proctor confessed. "I've still to come to London, to say that I've been to Britain properly."

As a native of Anguilla, a British overseas territory in the Caribbean, Proctor has possessed a British passport since birth. As her homeland has no National Olympic Committee, the 22-year-old decided to make use of her British qualification as a passport to the 2012 Olympic Games. The home-from-home Olympics, as they will be for her, Ofili-Porter and Cox – who is ineligible to compete for Britain in global championships until September but who has been given clearance to make her debut in Stockholm.

Proctor intends to spend her time "shuttling back and forth" between Britain and Atlanta, where she trains alongside Dwight Phillips, the 2004 Olympic and three-time world champion long jumper. Her spiritual home remains Anguilla, an island with a population of 13,500, the same as Aberystwyth. "If I won in London it would be for Britain but in my heart Anguilla," Proctor confessed. "It was a dream to compete in the Olympics, possibly to win a medal. If I'd stayed with Anguilla it wouldn't have happened. If I do well it will be big news in Anguilla. They'll have a party – certainly in the shop."

Proctor's father, Orris, was Anguilla's Secretary for Education but retired to run the family grocery store, JW Proctors. Her mother, Wilma, is the island's Director of Sport.

What about the enduring British influence in Anguilla, though? "We use a lot of tea," Shara said. "We have BBC television channels." Which means Orris and Wilma Porter will get to watch their girl – sixth in the long jump at the 2009 World Championships – beef up the Great Britain team in Stockholm next week.

Britons set for take-off

Dai Greene 400m hurdles Winner of the European, Commonwealth and Continental Cup titles in 400m hurdles last year, the 25-year-old is GB captain for the European Team Championships.

Greg Rutherford long jump At 24, could the injury-plagued Milton Keynes man finally have found the consistency he needs to maximise his huge talent? Jumped a wind-assisted 8.32m to win in Eugene last weekend.

Danny Talbot 200m Just 20 last month, earned his senior GB debut with scorching early season form, winning the Loughborough International meeting 100m in 10.21sec.

Chambers left trailing by new generation of sprinting stars

Dwain Chambers found the young guns of the sprint game too hot to handle on the outskirts of Paris last night. The 33-year-old Briton could only finish fourth in 10.09sec in the 100m in the Meeting du Montreuil behind 21-year-old Jamaican Yohan Blake who won in 9.95sec. Christophe Lemaitre, 20, clocked a French record 9.96sec in second, with Daniel Bailey third.

Life and Style
A monstrous idea? Body transplants might no longer be science fiction
Science An Italian neurosurgeon believes so - and it's not quite as implausible as it sounds, says Steve Connor
Demba Ba (right) celebrates after Besiktas win on penalties
footballThere was no happy return to the Ataturk Stadium, where the Reds famously won Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
arts + ents
Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
arts + ents
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
arts + ents...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
Image from a flyer at the CPAC event where Nigel Farage will be speaking
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper

£23000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small, friendly, proactive...

Recruitment Genius: Photographic Event Crew

£14500 - £22800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developers - .NET / ASP.NET / WebAPI / JavaScript

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Software Developer is required to join a lea...

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Tax Solicitor - City

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: A first rate opportunity to join a top ranking...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower