Cooke Strikes Gold again in Sarasota
Jamie Cooke showed his true colours again today when he took to the podium to accept his Gold medal after winning the UIPM 2016 World Cup Final. Jamie’s World Cup season has gone from strength to strength with him starting the series in Brazil in March where he finished 19th. Just one month later he took Gold in Kecskemét in Hungary and then repeated that success in the Florida sunshine yesterday (Saturday 7th May). He becomes the first British man to win a World Cup Final and it was a case of déjà vu as he also found himself on the top step of the podium in Sarasota in February 2015 at World Cup #1.
Jamie finished his fencing ranking round in 17th place on Thursday which he described as “a massive improvement on how I used to fence”. He freely admits that’s he’s used to routinely finding himself towards the bottom of the field after the fencing phase but after changing his training routine recently, has been concentrating more on his fencing technique. This has clearly paid off with a much more balanced result of 18 victories and 17 defeats, his fourth positive fence in four World Cup outings this season.
With the ever-present Florida sun shining down on the pool on Finals day on Saturday, Jamie, as one of the fastest swimmers in the competition, took his place in Lane 4 in the 5th and final heat. He swam a great race with a time of 01:58:76, the 2nd quickest of the day. Although understandably pleased at this result he said “I must remember this isn’t just a swimming competition – I need to perform like that in all 5 events”.
He was subsequently “disappointed as I know I can fence better” after the Fencing Bonus Round where he was outwitted by the towering presence of the German, Patrick Dogue (who eventually took the Silver medal). Reflecting on his fence Jamie said “I now just need to focus on the ride. The ride can change everything”. And he wasn’t wrong. Sitting in 4th place he produced a cool, calm and collected clear round on the grey gelding, Hannover MCN, a sensitive horse that responded to his quiet hands and seat. He also completed the ride phase within the allocated time to pick up the maximum 300 points. This left him in 3rd place going into the combined event.
With 852 MP points and a handicap of 11 seconds, he started the final discipline in good shape. He didn’t waste a second that this opportunity gave him and completed the run in a blistering 11mins 12 seconds. “With my last green light, I thought, “this could be in the bag”” Jamie said, “But it wasn’t until those last couple of corners I actually realised that I was going to do this”.
Jamie shared the podium with Patrick Dogue (Silver) and Valentin Prades of France (Bronze). He summed up his day in Sarasota by stating “It’s been a perfect day”. His coach, Marian Gheorghe when asked to summarise the day simply said “He’s good, we’re good, the team’s good”.
The women’s competition was won on Friday by reigning World Champion Lena Schoneborn with Hungary's Zsofia Foldhazi taking silver and Lithuania's Ieva Serapinaite bronze. Pentathlon GB’s own Freyja Prentice also earned her right on the podium, coming home in 6th after a stylish clear round in the show jumping and strong combined event.
The next outing for the Pentathlon GB Senior team will be at the World Championships in Moscow. The competition starts with the Women’s relay on Tuesday 23rd May.