Teen sets sights on Olympics

Andrew Cook in action for England under-15s in Latvia in 2009.

Andrew Cook in action for England under-15s in Latvia in 2009.

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A teenage ice hockey enthusiast is edging closer to Olympic glory.

Whitley Bay High School pupil Andrew Cook is the youngest member of the Whitley Warriors English National League ice hockey team.

And now the defenceman has been selected for trials for the Great Britain under-18 team, offering the potential to be picked for the Great Britain 2014 Winter Olympic side.

To help him realise that dream, North Tyneside Council has given the 17-year-old free access to its leisure facilities for a year, as well as £100 towards the cost of skates.

Andrew said: “It is a really important time for me at the moment, and it’s brilliant being able to use the council’s gyms.

“I do four sessions a week, including two cardio and two strength sessions.

“Hopefully, the hard work will pay off.

“I’m currently relying on speed to mix it with the older, stronger players, but hopefully the gym sessions will help me bulk up.

“I don’t have any sponsors and my family fund a lot of what I do, so being backed by the council has really given me a boost ahead of my trials.”

The trials are being held over two days in Sheffield next month, and Andrew, included in the Great Britain under-18 reserve team last year, is hoping to go one step further this time around.

He said: “Last year, when I played for – and captained – the under-16 Great Britain team, we played in a competition in Holland and beat the host team twice.

“That was a great experience for me and definitely has given me the confidence to know I have what it takes to get where I want to be.

“The Olympics is a long way away, but that’s my dream, and I will work as hard as I can to get there.”