Model athlete has high hopes for RioBy Stephen Lloyd
September 06, 2012
HIGH jump star Isobel Pooley has turned model as she aims to make a big impression at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
The 6ft 3in Aldershot, Farnham and District Athletics Club member jumped 1.90 metres in the Olympic high jump qualifiers, just 2cm off the cut-off mark, but made the Team GB squad at the European Championships in Helsinki.
She cheered on her new-found friends, including Mo Farah and Dwain Chambers, on television during the London Olympics after the older athletes generously took her under their wing in Finland.
And the 19-year-old believes the London Games were a sneak preview for her Olympics in Rio as she knuckles down to four years of hard training and modelling assignments.
Isobel, of Florence Road, Fleet, said: “This year has been such an incredible experience for me, meeting all the older athletes and then watching them on TV. I feel proud to be an athlete.”
The former Court Moor School pupil, who now studies Animal Science at the University of Nottingham, said high jumpers have the perfect body fat ratio for a career in the fashion industry.
But she added: “I’ve always been conscious of my height. I come from a very, very tall family, on both sides. My dad, Dave, is 6ft 10ins, my mother, Jill, is 5ft 10ins and my 14-year-old sister Alice is 6ft 4ins.
“I was very uncoordinated and ungainly at general PE at school. I wasn’t particularly good at anything, but would give things a go, and then I tried the high jump at the age of 14.”
Isobel is now training with the UKA National Events Coach for high jump, Fuzz Ahmed, in Birmingham and Loughborough and was flattered when he suggested she try for London 2012.
Isobel said: “I knew I was technically too young. High jumpers peak in their mid to late 20s but he wanted to know whether I wanted to go for it.
“The timing wasn’t right for me for London but if my only barrier is that I am too young, it is a problem I can overcome.
“This Olympics was a sneak preview of what is waiting for me. Rio is my Olympics.”
Meanwhile, Isobel has become the face of Designs for Success thanks to Knaphill-based fashion stylist Barbara Cosgrave, who was impressed after watching Isobel address a meeting at the International Women’s Day convention in London earlier this year.
Isobel admitted the fashion industry was ‘out of her comfort zone’ but was aware that she would shortly be in the public eye more and more.
She added: “I am not there to look pretty, I am there to jump, but if I can look pretty and do some modelling to support my athletics along the way then that’s great.
“I don’t need to go out and seek attention, I’ll command it with my jumping. Barbara can help me deal with that attention so I am seen in the best light and leave a lasting impression.”
Barbara said that for the first fashion shoot with Isobel, she selected clothes from both high street and designers in colour and styles that flattered her colouring and body shape.
“She was a natural model and would grace any catwalk,” she added.