Cooke stays grounded over Olympic hopes

 

Jamie Cooke may be the new golden boy of the Great Britain modern pentathlon team but he is not about to start talking up his chances of an Olympic medal just yet.

The 20-year-old from Cheltenham has emerged as one of the hottest young athletes in the sport after achieving the 2012 qualifying standard last year and then being crowned world junior champion.

Cooke said: "I'm trying to take it one step at a time. We've got the World Cups coming up and then Europeans and World Championships, and then hopefully the Games.

"Any athlete dreams of going to the Olympics, any athlete dreams of going to their home Olympics - fortunately we have both but I'm just trying to keep my feet on the ground and keep everything going.

"But you do wake up in the morning and think, 'This is 2012, this is the Olympic year, so it is exciting'."

Cooke's fourth place at last year's European Championships in Kent earned him a provisional spot in London this summer but, with only two places available for each nation, there is still a chance, albeit a remote one, that he may miss out.

The world number 14's rise has been remarkably swift for such a complex sport and his put him ahead of Beijing Olympians Sam Weale and Nick Woodbridge in the race for the two spots.

Cooke was, though, quick to give credit to his training partners - and housemate in Woodbridge's case - for their part in his success.

He said: "Last year was fantastic for me. I learned a lot. It seems to all be going well but I have Sam Weale and Nick Woodbridge to thank the most because they've got a lot of knowledge and experience so, as a young upstart, I keep trying to nick all their ideas.

"They push me on and I push them on. I think I was more surprised than them when I qualified. They're fantastic athletes, they'll qualify as well."

Cooke knows there are plenty of areas in which he can improve, most notably his fencing, but he has a weapon all his rivals must be jealous of - he is the fastest swimmer the sport has ever known.

The 200 metres freestyle does not normally play too key a role in modern pentathlon but Cooke is so quick that it keeps him in contention no matter how he fares in the fencing, as he proved at the World Junior Championships in Buenos Aires in November when he climbed from 29th to seventh before excelling in the riding and combined run and shoot to take gold.

The 20-year-old added: "My swim is my saving grace. To be able to fence like that and pull it back with the swim was really good because I get most nervous for the swim but I know I can pull out a fast time."

Cooke is not a well-known name in the wider sporting context at the moment but Weale expects that to change come the Olympics.

"He had a fantastic season last season, he's very talented, he's got a fantastic swim," said Yeovil athlete Weale.

"Leading up to 2012 he's a name people should listen out for. I'm not going to mention medals or anything for him because that's putting too much pressure on but I'm sure he'll do well."

Weale and Woodbridge will have their chance to achieve Olympic qualification at the World Championships in Rome in May but they must make the podium or they will be left relying on the ranking list.

Woodbridge added: "Jamie is in pole position, he's got an automatic spot and from the GB ranking list that puts him in a far better position than myself and Sam but it still could be taken away. We're all working hard and we all want to go."

The trio have all been selected for the opening two World Cups of the season in Charlotte, USA, and Rio de Janeiro in March, with Steven Mason making up the British contingent.

PA

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Alexis Sanchez, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa and Mario Balotelli
football
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballGunners confirm signing from Manchester United
News
people Emma Watson addresses celebrity nude photo leak
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SAP Assessor

£26000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: SAP Assessor Job T...

Year 6 Teacher needed for 1 Term- Worthing!

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Crawley: Year 6 larger then life teach...

SEN Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: SEN Jobs Available Devon

Infrastructure Lead, (Trading, VCE, Converged, Hyper V)

£600 - £900 per day: Harrington Starr: Infrastructure Lead, (Trading infrastru...

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering