• London Olympics 2012

WTF to review Cook Olympic snub

ESPN staff
June 7, 2012

The World Taekwondo Federation will launch a review into British Taekwondo's Olympic selection process after the national governing body again snubbed world No. 1 and European -80kg champion Aaron Cook.

British Taekwondo have met three times, the last in the presence of a British Olympic Association official, and have selected Lutalo Muhammad ahead of Cook on each occasion, despite Muhammad, a European champion at -87kg, being required to drop down a weight division.

Cook has become a divisive figure within British Taekwondo since leaving the national set-up and training independently, after which he went on to achieve European success and rise to the top of the world rankings.

"The manner of the selection is bringing our sport into disrepute among the UK media and major Olympic stakeholders due to a perceived lack of transparency," Jean-Marie Ayer, Secretary General of the WTF, said.

"Our main concern is always that every athlete is given fair and equal consideration - their welfare must come first. We at the WTF have done our utmost to bring fair practices and transparency to our sport, and that is why we have committed to undertaking this review."

British Taekwondo have not been ordered to reverse their decision and pick Cook, but the WTF pointed out that clear guidelines the eligibility and profile of athletes to be chosen to represent Great Britain had been provided, as the host nation was granted four places rather than qualifying by right.

"Up until now, the WTF had hoped that this matter could be resolved internally at British Taekwondo. As the global governing body, we do not interfere with the selection processes and internal affairs of our member nations.

"We have always stated that the athletes nominated for selection must meet minimum requirements set in the qualification system. We are not commenting on the decision to select or omit specific athletes, as the criteria imposed beyond our minimum requirements are the remit of the individual member nation.

"This review will not have the power to alter British Taekwondo's decision, but it will determine whether any rules of the WTF Ethics Code have been broken."

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