FORMER Doncaster Olympian Kathy Hook has tipped Sarah Stevenson to end her sporting career on a high by winning Olympic gold - and then retiring from the sport.
Hook, who starred at the Barcelona 1992 Games, has developed a close friendship with Stevenson over the years, with the pair prominent figures on the local and national tae kwon do scene.
And the Ultimate Taekwondo coach told the Free Press this week she was very confident about her friend’s chances in London.
“Sarah will win gold,” said Hook, of Armthorpe.
“I’m pretty sure she’ll do it.
“She’s pleased with her draw against the American girl and she’s confident about her chances.
“I spoke to her just before the opening ceremony and she was in a very relaxed mood about the competition.
“Her injury worries are behind her, she’s not worried about her knee at all.
“And she’s moved down from heavyweight to the middleweight category for these Olympics, which is something I spoke to her about a couple of years ago.
“It’s worked out well so far with her winning the world title last year, and it gives her a weight and height advantage against most of her rivals.
“I’m confident she’ll win the gold. It’d be the perfect way to end her career.
“I can see her retiring as a competitor after the Games,” added Hook.
“I’ve just got a feeling that she’ll decide to call it a day.
“She’s been through a lot over the last year or so but she’s coped with everything extremely well.
“She’s such a strong person, a brilliant ambassador for Doncaster and the sport of tae kwon do.
“It would be an incredible way to go out having won a gold medal at your home Olympics.”
Stevenson has overcome a cruciate knee ligament injury to figure at London 2012, while the death of her mother and father last year is still fresh in the memory.
But Hook insists Stevenson could not be in better shape - physically and mentally - for the challenge ahead.
“Sarah’s not someone who likes to dwell on the past, she’s a very positive person.
“She’ll take tomorrow in her stride.
“Whatever she comes up against in her life, she knows now she’s dealt with something a lot tougher. It’s made her stronger.
“She’s such a genuine, modest person.
“A lot of people from Doncaster who are involved in tae kwon do will be down in London cheering her on.
“She might be Dame Sarah Stevenson very soon,” she added.
“She would definitely deserve that sort of honour.”
n Kathy Hook is chief instructor at Armthorpe-based Ultimate Taekwondo.
For more information visit www.ultimatetkd.co.uk.