It is three months since Shara Proctor swapped east Florida for the East Midlands.
The long jumper from the British Overseas Territory of Anguilla trained at the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach until her American coach, Rana Reider, was headhunted by UK Athletics in the wake of London 2012 and relocated to Loughborough in November.
Proctor, who switched allegiance to Great Britain in 2010 because Anguilla does not have Olympic affiliation, opted to move with him. “The decision was really easy,” the 24-year-old said before this weekend’s British Athletics European Trials and UK Championships in Sheffield, where she runs against Christine Ohuruogu and the resurgent Asha Philip in the 60 metres today before contesting the long jump tomorrow. “I knew wherever Rana would go, I would go.”
Reider won the USA Track and Field Coach of the Year award in 2011 and guided two American athletes to Olympic gold in London last summer – the triple jumper Christian Taylor, who has also joined his new group in Loughborough, and sprinter Tianna Madison, who ran the lead-off leg in the world record-breaking US women’s 4x100m relay team, and who has chosen to remain in the States. He also guided Proctor to a long-jump bronze for Britain at the World Indoor Championships in Istanbul last March.
“Reider is a great coach,” Proctor said. “He coached me for a year in college and I realised then that he was the coach for me. He doesn’t just focus on the track aspect of things; he focuses on the emotional and mental aspects too. I feel that’s a good coach to have. I’ve been training in Loughborough with him since early November. The workouts are the same in Loughborough as they were in Daytona Beach. It’s just the weather’s a bit different.”
Proctor has already been in action on the boards in 2013. At the Russian Winter Meeting in Moscow last weekend she finished fourth in the long jump with a leap of 6.44m. At a meeting at Eaubonne in the suburbs of Paris on Thursday she clocked a 60m personal best of 7.49sec.
Proctor went into the long-jump final at London 2012 as a leading medal contender, having recorded the longest jump in qualifying (6.83m), but finished ninth with 6.55m. The experience will provide potent motivation for the European Indoor Championships in Gothenburg in March.