Taekwondo: Lutalo Muhammad keen to prove critics wrong after controversial omission of Aaron Cook for Team GB

 

Lutalo Muhammad is keen to make his own impression in the taekwondo tomorrow. To many, he is known only as the anti-Aaron Cook, the man who took the place that ought to have belonged to the world No 1. But despite the fierce disagreement between Cook and GB Taekwondo, Muhammad wants to show that he is an Olympian in his own right, and not just by default.

“A lot of people didn't appreciate that, like Aaron, I'm a European champion too and all I've ever tried to do is perform to the best of my ability,” Muhammad pointed out. In May, in Manchester, in the European Taekwondo Championships, while Cook won welterweight gold at 80kg, Muhammad won middleweight gold at 87kg. It is well known that Cook was world No 1 while Muhammad was back at 57, but Muhammad clearly has an impressive body of work of his own. He will be competing here at the lower 80kg limit.

Muhammad is not just the beneficiary of a fall-out. There was a sporting case for Muhammad’s inclusion. New rule changes increase the chances of taller, more agile fights such as Muhammad who attack the opponent’s head. He starts at 10.45am against Farkhod Negmatov of Tajikistan in the preliminary round, and if he wins that and then two more bouts he will compete in the final at 10.15pm.

Clearly relaxed about his ability and his right to be here, there is no weight beyond what is necessary on Muhammad. “The only extra pressures that would be put on me are what I would put on myself,” he said. “I’m going into this as the European Champion, so I take a great deal of confidence from that.”

It would be natural to be distracted by the controversy, but Muhammad insists that he will not be. “The training has been so intense, I never really had time to think about the media frenzy, it's history now. I don't think the controversy put any extra pressure on me.”

If the controversy does not, the location might. Muhammad is from Walthamstow, not far north of the Olympic Park, and his father Wayne, who coaches him, run a martial arts academy even closer, in Hackney. “It's no secret that the area in London I'm from, some parts are a bit rough,” Muhammad said. “I think I have a responsibility to carry myself in a certain way and be a role model. You'll see me at my best in these Games, I'm confident I'll do Britain proud. I love the fact that a lot of the children can be inspired by some of my achievements and then aspire to do things in the sport themselves one day. I embrace that.”

News
A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreThe Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
News
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Stir crazy: Noel Fielding in 'Luxury Comedy 2: Tales from Painted Hawaii'
comedyAs ‘Luxury Comedy’ returns, Noel Fielding on why mainstream success scares him and what the future holds for 'The Boosh'
Life and Style
Flow chart: Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types in 1900, yet scientists have still not come up with an explanation for their existence
lifeAll of us have one. Yet even now, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Arts and Entertainment
'Weird Al' Yankovic, or Alfred Matthew, at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival Screening of
musicHis latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do our experts think he’s missed out?
Sport
New Real Madrid signing James Rodríguez with club president Florentino Perez
sportColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
Travel
Hotel Tour d’Auvergne in Paris launches pay-what-you-want
travelIt seems fraught with financial risk, but the policy has its benefits
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe best children's books for this summer
Life and Style
News to me: family events were recorded in the personal columns
techFamily events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped that
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn