Keith Cook won’t be foiled in Rio 2016 bid

Keith Cook. Pic: Phil Wilkinson
Keith Cook. Pic: Phil Wilkinson
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One of the most accomplished Edinburgh athletes of recent times will, this weekend, aim to take another step along a road he hopes will eventually lead to completing unfinished business at the Rio Olympics.

The annual Scottish Open Fencing Championships take place on Saturday and Sunday at Meadowbank and for foilist Keith Cook, it will be an opportunity to demonstrate the skills that have made him unbeaten north of the border for a decade.

“At the moment I am polishing the trophy in preparation to hand it back before the competition,” said Keith.

“I’m confident of quickly regaining possession, having een working really hard in preparation, but in fencing things can change in the blink of an eye. There is never any room for complacency.”

The Meadowbank event will lead Cook into a major tournament in Paris a week later with his 2014 goals amounting to further success in World, European and Commonwealth championships.

“They are all stepping stones to Rio and missing out on London really did feel like a dagger in the side,” said Cook.

Then, Cook, the 2010 British champion, filed a complaint, claiming he was omitted because he did not realise he had to provide contact details by selectors, who then insisted they didn’t know he actually wanted to be considered!

There was talk of legal action, but today, Cook, 32, said: “It began to be about moving on and getting my ranking back up helped by knocking over the world No.10 and No.14 in Paris. I am the British No.3 again and being part of a GB team that won a bronze at last year’s World Championships was encouraging, too.”

With fencing not included in Glasgow 2014, the Commonwealth Championships will take place in Largs in November.

“It’s disappointing and a bit ridiculous there is no place for fencing at Glasgow, given it is one of only four sports to have figured in every Olympic Games and appeal is widespread, including Africa. However, that won’t detract from my aim of adding a gold to previous silver (3) and bronze (2) medals at Commonwealth level.

“First, though, is Meadowbank this weekend when there will be the strongest field seen in Scotland for years including Russians, Hungarians and Swiss fencers.

“Scots to watch out for include Scott Brodie, Jack Watson and Kate Daykin while Lisa McKenzie is making her way back from a hip problem.”

In the case of Salle Holyrood club member Cook, though, it will be a case of catch him while you can with the Paris event followed by trips to La Coruna, St Petersburg, Venice, Bonn, all parts Asia and finally Largs in relentless pursuit of that Olympic goal.