• Taekwondo

Olympic bronze medallist has 'score to settle'

ESPN staff
December 3, 2013
Lutalo Muhammad claimed the bronze medal at London 2012 © Getty Images

Lutalo Muhammad says he has a "score to settle" with British taekwondo rival Aaron Cook when they take part in the Manchester Grand Prix.

Muhammad, the Olympic bronze medallist, was controversially selected ahead of the No. 1 player in the world at the time Cook for the London 2012 Games.

Cook claimed he had been "cheated" out of a place for London 2012 after departing the Great Britain programme in 2011, and the European Champion appealed the decision not to select him for the Games after the British Olympic Association (BOA) first turned down GB Taekwondo's nomination of Muhammad.

"He took it too far. It was quite clear that GB Taekwondo was firm in its stance and I think the constant appeals were nasty and unnecessary," Muhammad told BBC Sport, who also revealed he was the subject of hate mail following the turn of events.

"It was one of the low periods in my life. It's not the messages that I received which affected me, it was more that my family were being hounded by reporters left, right and centre - my dad was even being followed to his place of work," he added.

Cook, though, maintains the problems he had were never with Muhammad, and the pair could meet later in December in Manchester with both competing in the -80kg.

"He took his opportunity, he got an Olympic bronze medal out of it, so this is nothing against Lutalo. But I was world number one, reigning two-time European champion and that was my spot. For whatever reason, it got taken away from me," Cook said.

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