Angry Cook in last-chance saloon

World No 1 says British Taekwondo's latest refusal to select him for London is a 'national disgrace'

The chances of Aaron Cook,the world No 1, competing in the Olympic Games receded significantly yesterday when British Taekwondo refused for a third time to overturn their original selection in Cook's favour.

Last night Cook issued an angry statement describing the latest refusal to select him as "flawed", a "disgrace" and an "embarrassment" for the sport. He and his representatives are considering legal action.

The stand-off between the British Olympic Association and BT continues with the sport's governing body steadfastly maintaining Lutalo Muhammad is their selection in the -80kg category. It leaves the BOA little choice but to accept BT's choice unless it is prepared to invoke an emergency clause in its selection criteria for the first time in its history and reject a governing body's choice. Under the Olympic charter a national Olympic committee can ultimately reject a team selected by a national governing body.

The BOA's Olympic qualification selection panel met last night to consider its limited options. An announcement is expected today. The panel, that includes Andy Hunt, the chief executive, and Sir Clive Woodward, the performance director, heard a report from Shahab Uddin, the BOA's lawyer, who observed the latest BT selection meeting yesterday.

The BOA had asked BT to reconsider its choice and laid out a number of criteria that needed to be satisfied. If Uddin advised those have been met, the BOA will have little choice but to accept Muhammad. There is a reluctance to use the "nuclear" option in part due to the uncertainty over where that might lead.

"There is a huge amount of learning to be done for everybody," said Hunt, who would not comment directly on the case until the panel had met. "There a lot of lessons to be learned about using a discretionary selection process."

Cook's representatives will await the BOA's decision before deciding what their next course of action will be. Among the legal options available is an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Cook, who is European champion in the -80kg class, has also written to Lord Moynihan, president of the BOA, and Hugh Robertson, the minister of sport and the Olympics, expressing his concern over the selection process.

Last year the 21-year-old left BT's high performance programme and there have been claims that BT's preference for Muhammad was politically motivated.

Cook's statement read: "Aaron is disappointed but not surprised [by his non-selection]. It has been clearly demonstrated that the process adopted by [British Taekwondo] in the two other selection meetings held before today were flawed. Nothing changed today particularly given that the same Selectors were involved and took little consideration of objective facts and [BT's] own Selection Criteria events. We have appealed to the BOA not to ratify this flawed decision again. We are considering Aaron's position including all his legal options.

"This is an embarrassment not only for the sport of taekwondo, but also for Great Britain's international reputation in hosting the London Games. If the British World No 1 and reigning European Champion does not compete, it will be a national disgrace."

Olympic news you may have missed...

Team GB's rowing performance director, David Tanner, believes the side competing at this summer's games is "without doubt the strongest team we've taken to an Olympics."

The rowing squad was announced yesterday, with double sculls world champions Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins leading medal hopes. There is also a return for 40-year-old Greg Searle, who made his first, gold medal-winning, Olympic appearance in 1992.

"We've got greater strength and depth than ever, and excell-ent medal chances," Tanner said. The squad have been set the target of equalling the six medals they achieved in Beijing in 2008.

What's coming up...

Today-Sunday Bramham Horse Trials Zara Phillips competes in Yorkshire as she looks to earn the final place in GB's eventing team after missing the Queen's Jubilee celebrations to prepare. A record 250 horses from 17 countries will be participating.

Who's up?

Caster Semenya South African 800m world champion has been named in her country's Olympic squad after meeting the criteria for London. The 21-year-old was forced into an 11-month break after a gender test following her 2009 World Championship win.

Who's down?

L J van Zyl The 400m hurdler has been forced to pull out of today's Diamond League meet in Oslo due to a "lingering knee irritation". However the South African, World Championship bronze medallist remains confident that "all measures are in place for a successful build up to London."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night