BOA intervenes to revive Cook's hopes

 

The prospect of Aaron Cook winning an Olympic reprieve moved a significant step closer yesterday when the British Olympic Association asked GB Taekwondo to reconsider its selection for this summer's Games.

Cook, who is today expected to be named world No 1 when the rankings are updated, was overlooked by the sport's governing body, who preferred Lutalo Muhammad despite him being ranked a lowly 56th. The BOA has told GB Taekwondo to "reconvene" its selection panel "at the earliest opportunity".

The BOA will also send an independent observer to the meeting. The BOA cannot demand that Cook, who finished fourth in Beijing, be selected, only refuse to sanction the sport's choice of athlete.

The decision to omit Cook has been seen as political. Last year the 21-year-old left the governing body's high performance programme to undertake his own training regime. Of the five-strong selection panel, two voted in Muhammad's favour, one in Cook's and two abstained.

Yesterday the BOA's statement pointedly recorded "all members of the selection committee who have a right to vote are in fact encouraged to do so." The BOA also suggested that each of the athletes in question should be allowed to make representations to the panel via his coach.

GB Taekwondo has yet to agree to what the BOA terms a "request" and will first decide whether to appeal "in the next 24 hours." A statement from GB Taekwondo said: "We have been subject to a judicial process that has prevented us from saying more in the public arena than we would want."

Cook's exclusion is said to be based on a suggestion that he is more vulnerable than Muhammad to a new method of scoring head shots. "A disproportionate amount of emphasis should not be given to the so-called head-shot rule," said the BOA.

Cook, who has received notable support from current and former Olympians ranging from Sir Steve Redgrave to Tom Daley, tweeted last night: "Thanks to all the public, fellow athletes and legends for your support. If given the chance, I will make GB proud."

Olympic news you may have missed...

Hannah England, the surprise 1500m silver medal winner at the World Championships in Daegu last summer, is struggling to make the Olympic trials next month after being badly spiked in her first international race of the summer.

The Oxford City athlete won the metric mile at the Fanny Blankers-Koen Games at Hengelo in the Netherlands on Sunday but at the cost of an injury that required hospitalisation.

"Hannah got a spike in her achilles tendon and will be out for a number of weeks," Charles van Commenee, the head coach of UK Athletics, said yesterday. "It's not good news. It's a worry.

"She's had no surgery but she had to be in hospital a few days. We're using all the modern technology to get the wound healing so that she picks up training quickly.

"She'll try to get back for the trials. We're working towards that scenario, but it's impossible to predict."

England posted the news on her Facebook fanpage, saying: "Got some battle scars from being spiked. No stitches but will have some cool scars! Taking it easy this week to avoid infection and reduce risk of lingering problems."

What's coming up...

Today & tomorrow In a probable preview of the Olympic 110m hurdle final, Cuban gold medallist Dayron Robles faces 2008 poster boy Liu Xiang and bronze medallist David Oliver at the Prefontaine Classic Diamond League meeting in Eugene, Oregon.

Who's up?

GB men's hockey side Put 3-2 loss to Argentina behind them by beating New Zealand 2-1 and drawing with South Korea 1-1 in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.

Who's down?

Germany Sending lowest number of athletes – 380 – to a Games since 1990 reunification.

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