Louise Jukes is selected for Olympic Games
An emotional Louise Jukes burst into tears after realising her dream to represent Great Britain at the Olympic Games.
The 28-year-old Ipswich handball player has landed one of 14 coveted places for next month’s tournament at the Copper Box venue in Stratford, where Team GB will be hoping to secure a top-four group position and a place in the last eight.
Jukes, who has battled back from hamstring and back problems to make coach Jesper Holmris’ squad, was convinced her dream was over ahead of her meeting with Team GB officials yesterday.
“I went into the meeting thinking I would probably miss the cut,” explained Jukes, a former Holbrook High School pupil.
“I have been out for so long and I am not as strong yet as I was before my injury problems, so when the coach told me he believed in me, I just cried. I was very emotional.
“I was told almost straight away as I was a bit of a wreck and I don’t think it has sunk in yet.
“It’s been a stressful time so to be selected has taken a bit of the edge away. Now all my focus will be on being ready for July 28.”
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Jukes, a physiotherapy graduate, only took up the sport in 2007 after being selected through the Talent Identification Scheme hosted by Sir Steve Redgrave.
GB selection marks a remarkable journey for the former England under-18 hockey player and Jukes revealed that, along with her team-mates, she is aiming to make the most of her Olympic odyssey in games against African champions Angola, Brazil, Croatia, Montenegro and Russia.
“It’s a very proud moment for me and to be flying the flag for Ipswich too is fantastic. I hope I can make an impact at the Games and afterwards too,” confessed Jukes, who is a defender.
“The team has made some really great progress since we were centralised and we want to perform well.
“We have defeated Angola before and we probably need to target one more win against Croatia in our last game to finish in the top four.”