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.

Arts and Entertainment
Joe Cocker performing on the Stravinski hall stage during the Montreux Jazz Festival, in Montreux, Switzerland in 2002
musicHe 'turned my song into an anthem', says former Beatle
News
Clarke Carlisle
sport
Sport
footballStoke City vs Chelsea match report
Arts and Entertainment
theatreThe US stars who've taken to UK panto, from Hasselhoff to Hall
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
News
newsIt was due to be auctioned off for charity
News
Coca-Cola has become one of the largest companies in the world to push staff towards switching off their voicemails, in a move intended to streamline operations and boost productivity
peopleCoca-Cola staff urged to switch it off to boost productivity
Environment
Sir David Attenborough
environment... as well as a plant and a spider
Voices
'That's the legal bit done. Now on to the ceremony!'
voicesThe fight for marriage equality isn't over yet, says Siobhan Fenton
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Regulatory / Compliance / Exeter

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: Exeter - An excellent opportunity for a Solici...

Ashdown Group: IT Support Technician - 12 Month Fixed Term - Shrewsbury

£17000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Helpdesk Support Technician - 12 ...

The Jenrick Group: Maintenance Planner

£28000 - £32000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Maintenance...

The Jenrick Group: World Wide PLC Service Engineer

£30000 - £38000 per annum + pesion + holidays: The Jenrick Group: World Wide S...

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'