• London Olympics 2012

British taekwondo star appeals Olympic snub

ESPN staff
May 29, 2012 « Kvitova and Sharapova among early winners | Chartbeat test »

Top-ranked taekwondo star Aaron Cook has turned to the British Olympic Association after the "incredible" decision by his national federation to deny him a place in the Olympic squad.

The 21-year-old, who finished fourth at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, is currently ranked No. 1 in the world in the 80kg division and was widely considered Britain's best chance for a taekwondo gold medal in London.

Cook's decision to leave the national taekwondo academy and train independently last year is thought to have counted against his Olympic selection. Since hiring his own coaches, the Manchester-based fighter has more tournament victories than any British athlete in his division, including the European Championships earlier this month.

"I now have no option but to request that the British Olympic Association review the selection," he said in a statement, adding that "individual sport is about results" and it was "ironic" to be ranked No. 1 but overlooked for the Olympics.

The British federation reportedly selected Lutalo Muhammad ahead of Cook. Muhammad, currently ranked 10th in the world, would have to drop down a weight category for the Olympics.

Britain was given four spots for taekwondo athletes as the host nation. A four-person BOA panel will examine the taekwondo federation's selections on Tuesday ahead of a final decision next week. While they cannot change the selections, they can reject them.

Cook said he would continue to train for the Olympics until the BOA announces the British team.

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