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'Devastated' Cook gives up on Olympic dream

ESPN staff
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Aaron Cook is 'devastated' to miss the Olympics © Getty Images
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Aaron Cook has finally given up on his dream of competing at London 2012, announcing on Friday that he will not take his case against the British Olympic Association [BOA] to the High Court.

Cook was left out of the Team GB Olympic squad by British Taekwondo, a move Cook has always maintained was due to his decision to prepare outside of the system.

The world No. 1 at the -80kg weight category had hoped the BOA could step in and order Cook's selection, but the governing body did not feel it right to do so. Cook has since asked for his case to be heard at the Court of Arbitration for Sport [CAS], but the BOA rejected the request.

That left Cook with only one remaining option, to take his case to the High Court, but both time and funding is against him. An emotional statement has now confirmed he will give up his fight.

"After careful consideration over the last few weeks, and despite my representatives advising me that I still had a good chance of successfully overturning the BOA's ratification of Great Britain Taekwondo's decision not to select me for London 2012, I have decided not to take my case against the BOA to the High Court," Cook said.

"The financial implications for me, and, more importantly, for my parents, of doing so are too prohibitive.

"I am really disappointed that the BOA did not agree to my case being heard at the Court of Arbitration for Sport. It is the specialist forum for sports-related matters. The High Court is significantly more expensive, time-consuming and does not have the experience or expertise in dealing with sports-related disputes.

"The World Taekwondo Federation [WTF] is currently conducting a review of British Taekwondo's selection process. It has already publicly stated that the selection process has brought the sport into disrepute due to a perceived lack of transparency.

"I welcome this investigation but I am hugely disappointed that the WTF has now indicated that it will not finalise the review and findings in time for London 2012. This is particularly disappointing as the BOA had reserved the right to reconsider its decision to ratify Great Britain Taekwondo's nomination in light of the WTF's findings.

"In the best interests of Team GB, I have decided not to take up the offer to be first reserve for London 2012. Clearly it would be hugely difficult for me to work with their coaches in view of what has happened in the last few weeks. I wish all of the athletes the very best of luck - that includes Lutalo Muhammad.

"I love my country. I love my sport. I don't think that I could have done any more in terms of my performance. I will sit down with my team though and consider my best way forward in the coming months.

"I have nothing more to say at this stage. I will not be doing any media interviews. The Olympics, and especially a home Olympics, would have been the pinnacle of my career. I feel totally devastated."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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