BOA refuse to ratify Cook exclusion

Aaron Cook

Aaron Cook

First published in National Sport © by

The British Olympic Association have refused to ratify British Taekwondo's exclusion of European champion Aaron Cook from the London 2012 Olympic squad.

Cook was widely anticipated to secure nomination for the under-80kg category on a four-strong team, having retained his European title in Manchester at the start of May.

However, the 21-year-old, set to be ranked world number one ahead of the Games, was overlooked in favour of Lutalo Muhammad, who would have to drop down a weight division for the Olympics.

That prompted Cook to write to the BOA after an internal appeal to Sports Resolution Ltd returned the same outcome, and which saw last week's scheduled Team GB squad announcement postponed.

The BOA's Olympic Qualification Standards (OQS) panel met with GB Taekwondo on Thursday and have asked them to look again at the selection.

A statement read: "The panel also recognised the complexity and difficulty of the decisions the selection committee had before it, particularly with respect to two outstanding and highly-qualified athletes in the men's under-80kg weight category.

"On the basis of the process that was followed by Sport Taekwondo UK in arriving at its nomination for the men's under-80 kg weight category, it was the unanimous decision of the OQS Panel that it could not ratify the nomination."

Press Association Sport understands Cook received the full backing of performance director Gary Hall. The fighter, though, indicated in a statement his decision to quit the British Taekwondo's World Class Performance Programme in Manchester and train independently counted against him among the votes of the rest of the selectors.

The BOA statement revealed questions would be asked of STUK that "all criteria should be weighed fairly and not disproportionately by the selection committee in evaluating athletes; in particular, a disproportionate amount of emphasis should not be given to the so-called 'head shot rule' in international taekwondo, which is subject to different interpretation, or any other factor".

GB Taekwondo said they were considering their position before deciding whether or not to appeal against the BOA ruling - they have 24 hours to do so.

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