Cuban may lead GB Games team: Aldama in contention for honour
01:52 GMT, 13 March 2012
UK Athletics chief coach Charles van Commenee is considering appointing a foreign-born athlete to captain the British team at the Olympics.
Just days after controversially making American-born Tiffany Porter captain at last weekend’s World Indoor Championships in Istanbul, he revealed that Cuban-born triple jumper Yamile Aldama is in contention for the honour at London 2012.
‘She’s certainly a candidate, yes,’ said Van Commenee, after Aldama won gold. In all, Britain took a record nine medals — five of them with the help of athletes born outside the United Kingdom.
Flying the flag: Cuban-born triple jumper Yamile Aldama could captain Great Britain at the Olympics
Should Van Commenee name Aldama, 39, as captain of the country’s biggest Olympic team, it would further fuel the ‘Plastic Brits’ debate highlighted by Sportsmail.
Aldama was born in Cuba, the country she represented at Sydney 2000. She then moved to Britain but competed for Sudan, whose rules were lax, when her British citizenship did not arrive in time for Athens 2004.
She competed for Sudan again at Beijing 2008 before deciding to represent Britain, where her British husband and family live, in 2011, in time for the London Games.
Decision maker: Head coach Charles van Commenee says he has great respect for Aldama
Golden girl: Aldama celebrates winning the triple jump in Istanbul
Van Commenee, 53, cited Aldama as a special case because of how she moved from country to country and had to contend with her Scottish husband, Andrew Dodds, being jailed in 2001 for 15 years for trafficking 11million of heroin into the country.
‘She has had to overcome so many difficulties and the medal shines even more,’ he said.
‘She loves athletics. She is a coach at a club in north London, just teaching young children how to triple jump. And then getting her first title in 39 years, it is quite a story. I have a lot of time and respect for her.
‘She is a great example for other athletes in how she trains and looks after herself and supports others.’