Leading article: The taekwondos and don'ts of Olympic selection

 

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For all the undoubted progress in the competitiveness of British sport – cycling and swimming come to mind – management in some areas still seems little touched by the professionalism that brings gold medals. Aaron Cook was yesterday rebuffed in his third attempt to win selection for the London Olympics, despite being the world No 1 in his class of taekwondo. GB Taekwondo insists that its choice was made solely on performance grounds, but Cook's supporters believe he has been penalised for training independently. There is also controversy in selecting in fencing, which in some cases defied national rankings.

Definitive selection at national championships or trials may seem ruthless, and unfair to an athlete who has a bad day, but it is transparent and ensures that factors other than performance do not come into play. The prospect of winning gold for Great Britain must be the only criterion for selection; it must also be seen to be so.

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