Taekwondo: Cook's Olympic bid suffers new setback | other | Hindustan Times
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Taekwondo: Cook's Olympic bid suffers new setback

other Updated: Jul 09, 2012 17:41 IST

AFP
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World number one Aaron Cook's bid to be selected for Great Britain's taekwondo team at the London Olympic was hit by a new double blow on Saturday.


The British Olympic Association (BOA) has rejected the latest evidence put forward by the representatives of Cook, controversially omitted from the original team, for his inclusion in the squad.

Lutalo Muhammad, the world number 49, was preferred to Cook in the -80kg class following a fraught process which required three selection meetings.

Cook's camp warned they would take his case to London's High Court or the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) if the BOA did not act on receipt of his pre-action letter, drafted following advice from leading sports lawyer Michael Beloff.

The High Court now looks like Cook's only route to the Games after the BOA declared CAS was "not the correct forum" because the fighter hadn't been nominated for selection.

The BOA said in a statement: "It is the view of the BOA that the Court of Arbitration for Sport is not the correct forum for Aaron Cook's claims to be heard, as the relevant provisions of the Olympic Charter regarding the jurisdiction of CAS and the Olympic Games relate primarily to athletes who have been nominated for selection by their National Governing Bodies.

"It is also the view of the BOA that the letter and evidence from Aaron Cook's attorneys does not provide sufficient new information for the BOA to direct GB Taekwondo to reopen its selection process.

"The BOA review was conducted by in-house and external counsel."

Cook believes he has been "cheated" out of his rightful place at the Olympics and that GB Taekwondo are "bringing the sport into disrepute".

He has called on the International Olympic Committee to examine his case and urged UK Sport, the national agency that delivers funding from Britain's public lottery to leading athletes, to conduct their own inquiry.

Cook also expressed his disappointment in the BOA, saying: "I feel they gave up fighting for me.

"I am really disappointed with UK Sport. As a UK taxpayer you expect lottery money to be involved in the correct processes.

"The reaction of the WTF ( World Taekwondo Federation) has been to investigate British Taekwondo.

"This suggests UK Sport needs to urgently conduct their own full inquiry into what has happened and why."

Cook claimed his non-selection stemmed from his decision to leave the GB Taekwondo training programme 12 months ago to go it alone.

Since then, training in a home-made gym in his parents' back garden and assembling his own support team at a cost of £100,000 ($155,865), Cook has won nine of his last 12 tournaments and become the world number one.

"I always thought it would be impossible for them not to pick me if I won the majority of the tournaments listed in their selection criteria, which I did," Cook said. "When I have put the results in I feel like I have been cheated."