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.

News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
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
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
life
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
life
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
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
Arts and Entertainment
Worldwide ticket sales for The Lion King musical surpassed $6.2bn ($3.8bn) this summer
tvMusical is biggest grossing show or film in history
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drink
News
Rob Merrick's Lobby Journalists were playing Ed Balls' Labour Party MPs. The match is an annual event which takes place ahead of the opening of the party conference
newsRob Merrick insistes 'Ed will be hurting much more than me'
News
A cabin crew member photographed the devastation after one flight
news
Life and Style
Carol O'Brien, whose son Rob suffered many years of depression
healthOne mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
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

Chemistry Teacher

£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: We are looking for a Qualified C...

Year 6 Teacher

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education are currently...

Year 1 Teacher

£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Year 1 Primary Supply Teachers ne...

Early Years Teacher

£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Early Years supply teachers neede...

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