Former world number one and European champion makes moves after being snubbed for Olympic selection
FORMER world number one Taekwondo player Aaron Cook sensationally switched allegiances to the Isle of Man last night after being snubbed by Great Britain selectors for the London Olympics despite being reigning European -80kg champion.
The 21-year-old from Dorchester will now fight for the island at the World and European Championships plus all open competitions.
Fighting for the IoM, which is an associate member of the World Taekwondo Federation and therefore permitted to field its own team at WTF-sanctioned championships, means he can now compete at the highest level without surrendering his British nationality, leaving the door open for possible GB Olympic selection at Rio in 2016.
Cook, who has no previous links with the island told Sky Sports:’I think it’s a fantastic opportunity for me and will allow me to still compete for Great Britain at the Olympic Games, which I’ve wanted. Now we can look forward.’
On his switch of allegiances Cook added: “It was very hard for me to go back there after not selecting me. I felt there was nothing more I could have done to be selected for the Olympics. I was reigning European champion, reigning world number one. I’m never going to work with those people again. They’ve made their minds up with what they’ve done to me and I’ve made my mind up.’
Cook could now find himself fighting at international championships against Lutalo Muhammad, the athlete who was selected in his place for London.
Muhammad managed to win a bronze at the Games, despite his initial selection provoking an outcry as he was ranked only 56th in the world at the time.
More in Monday’s Examiner.