Shipton pentathlete targets his World Junior title defence

First published in Sport Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Photograph of the Author by , Sports Editor

JAMIE COOKE recognises that he must discover an inner Zorro if he is to achieve his dream of competing in the Olympics – after he was heartbreakingly pipped for selection at London 2012, writes Danny Hall.

Though Cooke, 21, was the first of Great Britain’s top trio of modern pentathletes to make the Olympic qualifying standard last July, he learnt last week that he has not been given one of only two places in the men’s squad.

Instead, the selectors picked Britain’s No.1, his great friend and training partner Nick Woodbridge, as well as Sam Weale.

Cooke, from Shipton, said: “I qualified when finishing fourth at the Senior European Championships last year, but my results in 2012 have not been as good. Meanwhile, Sam has had a good season and did very well at both the World Cup in Rio and the last qualifying event, the World Cup finals in China.”

The modern pentathlon is a combination of five events: fencing, swimming, show jumping and the now-combined run/shoot.

Cooke is the best modern pentathlete on the planet in the 200m swim, but equally he knows at which discipline he is most weak.

“The fencing has been my undoing,” he admitted. “At the senior level they are all such good fencers, whereas I have been finishing last. “At least, I am assured that fencing skills come together over a long period of time.”

While Cooke heads this week to an altitude training camp in the Pyrenees, along with those selected for London, his main focus is the defence of his World Junior title in Poland starting on September 3.

“I am now among the oldest in the Juniors at 21 and some of my principal threats are too old for the competition,” said Cooke. “But to have been so close and to miss out on the Olympics this year is pretty rubbish.

“However, I am determined to represent Great Britain at the Olympics – so the target is now Rio in 2016.”

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