Aaron cooks up gold medal in Manchester

LONDON 2012 Taekwondo hopeful Aaron Cook landed gold at the British Open in Manchester at the weekend.

The 20-year-old - who earlier this year opted to leave the Team GB elite training programme - beat compatriot Craig Brown, a member of the Athens Olympic squad, in this evening’s under-80kgs final at the Regional Arena.

Cook, ranked third in the world, blitzed Portugal’s Jean-Michel Fernandes 19-3 in his opening bout and then saw off Norway fighter Eirik Nilssen Bratli before needing to dig deep against Frenchman Augustin Bata, who had knocked out Iranian world champion Farzad Abdollahi in the first round.

The Briton - who failed to medal at the 2011 WTF World Championship in Korea, where Team GB enjoyed a record haul including gold for Sarah Stevenson - secured a title shot when he defeated Spaniard Nicolas Garcia 10-7.

Cook controlled the opening two rounds of the final, moving 12-5 ahead with a quickfire combination of head kicks.

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However, a head shot from Brown saw the 28-year-old Londoner reduce the deficit at the start of the third.

Cook, though, slowly increased the margin with single body blows before another acrobatic spinning hook kick won him gold, stopping the contest with 23 seconds left as he held a 12-point lead at 23-11.

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