Highly-rated sprinter Zharnel Hughes has given the nation’s medal potential a major boost after his application to switch allegiance to Great Britain was ratified yesterday.
The 19-year-old, who was born on the British overseas territory of Anguilla, is a training partner of six-time Olympic champion Usain Bolt and ran the 100m in 10.12 seconds last year.
Anguillans are permitted to compete at the Commonwealth Games and World Championships but not the Olympic Games as the island is not recognised by the International Olympic Committee.
“I have always known that if I was to run at the Olympics it would be in a British vest,” said Hughes, who has held a British passport since birth.
Hughes has broken Jamaican Yohan Blake’s 100m junior record and was narrowly pipped by Bolt in last week’s New York Diamond League 200m after clocking 20.32 – a time that would put him top of the UK rankings this season. Bolt clocked 20.29. United States-born sprint hurdler Cindy Ofili, high-jumper Victoria Dronsfield from Sweden and American track duo Shante Little and Montene Speight, have also been declared eligible for Great Britain.