London 2012

Taekwondo fighter Aaron Cook will represent Isle of Man after London 2012 selection row

Last Updated: 07/12/12 1:01am

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European taekwondo champion Aaron Cook has switched allegiance to the Isle of Man for international competitions - but still hopes to represent Great Britain at the Olympic Games.

Cook, from Dorchester, was not picked for Team GB at London 2012 despite winning the European title earlier in the year and being ranked number one in the world in the -80 kg division.

Lutalo Muhammad, the world number 59 at the time, was preferred by the GB selectors for London 2012 and went on to win a bronze medal.

"I think it's a fantastic opportunity for me - and will allow me to still compete for Great Britain at the Olympic Games, which I've wanted. Now we can look forward."
Aaron Cook

"I'm going to be fighting for Isle of Man at world championships, European championships and all the open competitions," Cook told Sky Sports News.

"I think it's a fantastic opportunity for me and will allow me to still compete for Great Britain at the Olympic Games, which I've wanted. Now we can look forward."

Cook, 21, quit GB Taekwondo's programme in 2011 to take charge of his own training regime, a move he believes was behind his Olympic snub.

On the prospect of returning to the GB Taekwondo fold, he said: "I couldn't see any way forward with them, it was very hard for me to go back down there after they didn't select me.

"I felt there was nothing more I could have done to get selected for the Olympics, I was reigning European champion and world number one.

"I'm never going to work with those people again, they've made their minds up with what they've done to me. And I've made my mind up."

The Isle of Man is a British Crown Dependency and their athletes - such as cyclists Pete Kennaugh and Mark Cavendish - compete for Team GB at the Olympics.

Cook added: "I think I'm quite lucky at the moment - the WTF (World Taekwondo Federation) are looking to organise new competitions such as the grands prix which will be starting in 2014 and will open up a different path to the Olympics, a different path based on world rankings.

"So all I have to do is go and win the world championships, European championships and make sure I'm top ranked in the world and I can get there there and off my own back, which we didn't have in the past."

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