Shara Proctor has gone on an unsual journey to be part of the British Olympics team as the only woman to qualify for long jump for London 2012.
Shara was born and raised in Anguilla, a very small island in the Caribbean with a population of 13,600 people. Anguilla is too small to have its own Olympic Committee so is therefore ineligible to enter a team for the Olympic Games itself, but its citizens are eligible for British Citizenship.
Shara leapt at (excuse the pun) the opportunity to claim her British citizenship when the chance to compete for the British team presented itself.
Shara’s family background is political rather than sporting, with her mother being, rather fittingly, the current Anguillan minister for sport, and her rather a retired permanent secretary for education.
Shara started her athletics career as a sprinter but turned to long jump because, even on an island as small asAnguilla, there were two other women who were faster than her. She said recently that she had to make the switch because she simply hated losing; a promising quality for Team GB.
Shara’s lifetime best is 6.71 meters and her season’s best is 6.68m, putting her at the very top of the British rankings. She says she is “jumping big” in training and has set a target of 6.9m this year, which would put her well into medal territory at world and Olympic level.
In recent interviews Shara has said that if she wins a medal for Team GB, in her heart it will be for her home country of Anguilla. I’m sure none of the cheering on lookers from Britain will mind this one bit, if we can see a medal in a category where we haven’t won once since the subject yesterday’s profile, Mary Rand.