Aaron Cook saga set to rumble on

THE saga over Taekwondo player Aaron Cook’s omission from the Team GB team for this summer’s Olympic Games in London looks set to rumble on.

The 21-year-old world number one failed for the third time yesterday to be selected for this summer’s Games, losing out to GB Taekwondo’s original choice, Lutalo Muhammed, who would have to drop down a weight division, in the under-80kgs category.

The decision has yet to be ratified by the BOA, whose Olympic Qualification Standards Panel will reconvene again today to continue their review of the findings from one of their lawyers who attended the selection meeting to observe the decision-making process.

“We’ve spent a significant number of hours making sure we get to the right place,” said BOA chief executive, Andy Hunt.

“The critical thing for us is ensuring a fair process took place. It’s very important that both athletes have been treated 100 per cent fairly.

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“I can’t prejudge what we’ll do. We can ratify the decision or reject it - then it’s back to the selection panel once more.”

Cook has been training outside of the official GB Taekwondo programme, and his management wrote to BOA chairman Lord Moynihan on Tuesday to complain about the selection process and his treatment in it.

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His management have failed to rule out taking legal action and chief executive of the Professional Sports Group, Jamie Cunningham, claims it will be a “national disgrace” if the reigning European champion does not represent his country at London 2012.

“Aaron is disappointed but not surprised by the recommendation by STUK’s (Sport Taekwondo UK) Selection Committee,” he said.

“All the concerns that he expressed in a letter to Lord Moynihan were completely justified.

“It has been clearly demonstrated that the processes adopted by STUK in the two other selection meetings held before yesterday were flawed.

“Nothing changed yesterday, particularly given that the same selectors were involved and took little consideration of objective facts and STUK’s own selection criteria events.

“We have appealed directly to the BOA not to ratify this flawed decision again.

“In the meantime, we are considering Aaron’s position including all his legal options.

“Aaron would like to thank the public and media for their support. This is an embarrassment not only for the sport of taekwondo internationally but also for Great Britain’s international reputation in hosting the London 2012 Games.

“If the British world number one and reigning European champion does not compete it will be a national disgrace which the world’s media will highlight.

“We remain committed to overturning this flawed recommendation.”

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