Harrow para-sprinter Daniel Hooker is poised to retire after finishing seventh in the Commonwealth Games T37 sprint final on Monday night.
While a 15,000 word dissertation awaits the MA history student at Oxford on his return from Glasgow, he suggested the last chapter of his seven-year track career had been written on what he termed ‘an incredible night’ at Hampden Park.
Hooker had hoped to finish fifth and run a personal best , but admitted he got overwhelmed by the sort of atmosphere he had never encountered before.
Not that the cerebral Palsy sufferer was complaining about that – in fact he could not think of a more suitable occasion on which to call it quits.
He said: “I will take six weeks off now as I do at the end of every season to take stock, but this might be my last race.“If you could make Paralympics maybe but I am a fair way off doing that, and I can’t think of a better atmosphere than that to finish in.
“It was pretty much all you could ever hope for from a last race other than winning I guess, so it would be a pretty incredible last memory of being a track runner.
“It was a great experience, I just wish I’d run a little bit of a better race. I basically did the same warm-up as I did this morning and with a round already in the legs I didn’t need to do that. I knew that really, but I got a bit carried away with the occasion – I even had tears in my eyes on the start-line.”
If this dies mark the end of competing for the 22-year-old much of the credit for getting him to Glasgow 2014 rests with his firmer coach at Harrow AC, Barrington King.
It was former sprinter King who got Hooker’s time for the 100m down from 14.4 to the Paralympic B standard of 13.1 in less than three years. The race where he achieved the mark at Perivale in 2009 remains in terms of execution his best ever.
He added: “I have run faster times since, but that remains my best race ever in terms of how it felt. I beat all but one of my domestic rivals, all of whom had beaten me the previous season.
“British Athletics took notice of that performance and I felt I had gone from the bottom rung of my sport into the top echelon.“Barrington did most of the hard work for that and was a big influence.”
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