Aaron Cook rules out High Court appeal over Olympic omission


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The Independent Online

A devastated Aaron Cook has abandoned his battle to compete in the London Olympics after the world No 1 decided not to pursue legal action over his controversial non-selection for the Games.

Cook had his sporting appeal against the decision of British Taekwondo to pick Lutalo Muhammad in the -80kg category rejected by the British Olympic Association, the body that signs off selection for the Games. The BOA then refused to allow the case to be settled by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

It left legal action through the High Court as the only remaining course of action for Cook but a combination of a lack of time and the cost of any such undertaking led to this morning's decision to accept his fate.

"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," said Cook. "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. The High Court is significantly more expensive, time-consuming and does not have the experience or expertise in dealing with sports-related disputes."

Cook claims he was overlooked by British Taekwondo because he left the governing body's elite training set-up to go his own way a year ago. He is the current European champion and at -80kg is ranked some 50 places higher than Muhammad, who is European champion at a higher weight.

"In the best interests of Team GB, I have decided not to take up the offer to be first reserve for London 2012," said Cook. "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.

"The Olympics, and especially a home Olympics, would have been the pinnacle of my career. I feel totally devastated."