World Taekwondo Federation want end to Aaron Cook selection controversy

 

World Taekwondo Federation secretary general Jean-Marie Ayer hopes the sport can move on towards an "unforgettable" Olympic Games after backing British Taekwondo's selection policy for Team GB.

Despite successfully retaining his European title earlier this summer and being ranked number one in the world for the under-80 kilograms division, Aaron Cook was overlooked in favour of Lutalo Muhammad.

The WTF yesterday found that British Taekwondo correctly to its selection procedure in choosing Muhammad.

Cook had maintained that decision was flawed, but after the British Olympic Association (BOA) ruled there was not sufficient new evidence for GB Taekwondo to be forced to reopen their selection process and also did not allow the 21-year-old fighter to take his case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), he reluctantly dropped his appeal, deciding against taking it to the High Court.

The BOA had initially rejected Muhammad's nomination, and asked the selection panel to be reconvened for what was a third time.

Last month, WTF supremo Ayer had expressed "extreme disappointment" in the whole process, and claimed "the manner of the selection is bringing our sport into disrepute".

However, despite the continued pressure by Cook's representative team to have the decision overturned, the sport's hierarchy have now moved to put the matter behind them.

Ayer said in yesterday's statement: "Our goal was to ensure that British Taekwondo used a transparent system for selecting their athletes for London 2012. After assessing all available evidence, we are satisfied that this was the case.

"Both Aaron Cook and Lutalo Muhammad have been outstanding ambassadors for the sport of taekwondo, and the WTF strongly hopes that both can continue making a positive contribution to our global community."

Ayer's statement concluded: "We are delighted that the taekwondo family's focus can now return to what promises to be an unforgettable celebration of our sport at London 2012."

Cook, who will not be taking up the reserve place, has been self-funded since leaving the GB Taekwondo Academy programme last year, and always maintained his decision to go it alone was ultimately behind the decision to exclude him from the Olympic squad. GB Taekwondo refute this claim.

After their own independent review, the WTF are satisfied no rules had been broken.

A statement read: "The World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) has completed its review into British Taekwondo's (BT) selection process for the London 2012 Olympic Games, and has found that the rules defined in BT's selection policy were followed.

"The WTF conducted an analysis of the evidence submitted by BT and representatives of Aaron Cook, and concluded that all the athletes nominated by BT for Team GB satisfy the basic criteria established by the WTF for participation in the Olympic Games.

"Furthermore, the specific selection criteria defined and used by BT were sufficient to justify their nominations.

"As a result, there will be no further official investigation into BT, unless additional evidence is presented."

The on-going saga has overshadowed what had been a superb build-up to the Games from Gary Hall's elite fighters, who followed up four medals at the World Championships with more impressive displays through the ranks at the 2012 European Championships in Manchester.

As well as world champion Sarah Stevenson and Muhammad, Wales' Jade Jones, 19, and Liverpool fighter Martin Stamper were the other fighters ratified for Olympic selection.

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones