Proctor leaps into Olympic Games in record style

Thursday 5th July 2012

Shara Proctor smashed a 29-year-old British long jump record at the UKAthletics trials in Birmingham on Sunday to secure her place in Team GB for the London Olympics. The 23-year-old from the British dependent territory of Anguilla, who is based at Daytona Beach in Florida, leapt 6.95m in the third round, eclipsing Bev Kinch’s 1983 national record to a huge cheer from the crowd.

“It’s a dream come true,” she said after topping a field who included Jessica Ennis. “I’m on top of the world right now. It couldn’t be a better feeling – British record, Olympic place … It’s just a blessing to break a record that’s older than me.”

Proctor is unable to compete for Anguilla because the Caribbean island does not have an Olympic committee and she is a British citizen. “It doesn’t matter what vest I’m wearing. Just to be able to be at the Olympics is a great feeling … I’m in great shape,” she said. “I can definitely medal in London.”

Ennis fouled three times and admitted her performance was “disappointing”. There was a huge sigh of relief when she produced a valid jump in the third round, albeit a distance of 6.27m compared with her personal best of 6.51m earlier this year. “I think it’s definitely to do with my rhythm and the way I’m attacking the board,” she said. “We’ve just got to go away and work on it a bit. I don’t think it’s a major worry.”

She fouled four times at her previous outing in Bedford but said she would try again in the event at a meeting in Loughborough on 7 July.

There were mixed feelings for the 20-year-old Blackheath and Bromley long jumper, Lorraine Ugen, who missed the Olympic ‘A’ qualifying distance by one centimetre. She came second so now has only one week to jump the standard of 6.75m and book her place in London.

In the pole vault, world indoor bronze medallist Holly Bleasdale cleared 4.50m at the third and final attempt to achieve the Olympic qualifying standard. The crowd erupted when the 20-year‑old from Blackburn skimmed clear of the bar and lay face down on the mat for several seconds taking in her qualification. Bleasdale went on to break the British outdoor record with a jump of 4.71m. Her 28-year‑old rival Kate Dennison also qualified.

In the high jump, Robbie Grabarz, 24, secured his Olympic place clearing 2.28m in blustery showers to win the British title, capping an extraordinary turnaround in his fortunes. Last year, with his form dropping away, the Cambridgeshire athlete was stripped of his lottery funding and considered quitting. Until this year, his highest jump was 2.28m but he has jumped seven personal bests in 2012 and he cleared 2.36m earlier this year, the joint second highest jump in the world in 2012.

Grabarz said he was now “dreaming of a gold medal”. “I still almost don’t believe it. I would have liked to have jumped higher, but it wasn’t the wind it was the excitement of winning and booking myself a place that meant I didn’t jump higher.”

In the women’s javelin, the defending UK champion Goldie Sayers, 29, won with a throw of 58.45m giving her a chance to improve on her fourth place at the Beijing Olympics. The world’s fourth best discus thrower this year, the former rugby union player Lawrence Okoye, qualified for London with a winning throw of 63.46m. Blackpool’s Carl Myerscough, who tested positive for anabolic steroids in 1999 and, despite always protesting his innocence, was banned from the Olympics for life until a recent court ruling, came fifth and did not qualify.


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