• Taekwondo

Cook to represent Isle of Man

ESPN staff
December 7, 2012 « Dodson chasing pigs & squirrels to prepare for Johnson | Chartbeat test »
Aaron Cook will now represent the Isle of Man in international competitions © Getty Images
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Controversial world No. 1 taekwondo star Aaron Cook has switched his allegiance from Great Britain to the Isle of Man.

Cook, who was omitted from the Team GB squad for London 2012 despite being the top-ranked fighter in his weight class, has followed through on a promise he made to pursue other avenues following GB Taekwondo's summer snub.

By switching to represent the Isle of Man Cook retains his British nationality - enabling him to still potentially compete for Team GB at the Rio Olympics in 2016 - but means he can compete in World Taekwondo Federation events under another banner.

"I was reigning European champion, world No.1 - I am never going to work with those people [British Taekwondo] again," Cook told Sky Sports News. "They have made their minds up with what they have done to me and I've made my mind up."

Changes to the taekwondo setup mean Cook could yet qualify for the Olympics in 2016 without needing to be selected by national officials.

"I think I am quite lucky at the moment, the WTF are looking to organise new competitions, such as a grand prix, which they have said will open up a different path to the Olympics based on world rankings," he said.

"So all I have got to do is go and win the World Championships, the European Championships and make sure I am top-ranked in the world and I can get there off my own back, which we didn't have in the past."

Cook was overlooked in favour of world No. 59 Lutalo Muhammad at London 2012, with Muhammad going on to claim a bronze medal.

"I just wish I could have been on that team," Cook said. "I felt I deserved to be on that team. I've got to find some peace and I've to go move forward and this Isle of Man [opportunity] has come up and I can't wait to be hopefully world champion next year."

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