Jukes has sights set on Olympic history

FULL FLIGHT: Louise Jukes
FULL FLIGHT: Louise Jukes

LOUISE Jukes hopes Team GB can create history today by winning their first ever handball match at an Olympic Games.

London 2012 has already played host to a number of huge sporting moments — including Helen Glover and Heather Stanning becoming the first British female rowers to win gold at an Olympics and cyclist Bradley Wiggins becoming the most decorated British Olympian of all-time.

And former Harleston Magpies hockey player Jukes – who was turned to handball through Sir Steve Redgrave’s Sporting Giants programme – is hopeful of the handball team adding their own champagne moment.

Following Wednesday’s loss to Brazil – Team GB’s third consecutive defeat at the tournament – Jukes posted on Twitter: “Wow! The support was amazing! Thank you all again!

“We are playing our hearts out I promise. A tough three games but hoping to do better Friday.”

Today’s clash with Angola (9.30am) will see one of the two bottom sides in Pool A get off the mark and leave themselves with an outside chance of sneaking into Tuesday’s quarter-finals.

Results still need to go Team GB’s way, but victory over Angola and success against Croatia on Sunday (4.15pm) could leave Jukes and her team-mates preparing for a dream quarter-final that would leave them within touching distance of a surprise medal.

However, the fledgling British side – only formed six years ago – would have to reverse a run of three consecutive defeats that has seen them beaten by Montenegro (31-19), Russia (37-16) and pool leaders Brazil (30-17).

Following the Russia match, Jukes posted on Twitter: “Wasn’t the performance we hoped for – need to work harder on our attack.

“The Russians really came at us, lots learnt and on to the next one.”

She added: “Yet again our fans were awesome, thanks to every single one of you, cheering us all the way to the end! Amazing #RockTheBox #handballfever.”

No matter what happens, Jukes’ Olympics has already been packed full of highlights, including meeting the Queen and Prince William and Prince Harry.

The women’s side have also been given a team talk by double Olympic gold medallist Dame Kelly Holmes, while Jukes was on BBC One to show TV presenter Reggie Yates a few skills.

Handball has been one of the success stories of the Games, with more than 1.5 million people reportedly watching Jukes and her team on BBC Three against Russia, with its fast-flowing nature attracting a number of celebrity fans.