Aaron Cook could swap nationality to compete in Rio 2016
Aaron Cook (Dorchester, England, 1991) is the current number 1 of the World Taekwondo Federation Male’s Welter category ranking (-80 Kg). His medal record is simply impressive: Cook is double European Championships gold medallist (Saint Petersburg 2010 and Manchester 2012), World Junior champion (Izmir 2008) and bronze medallist (Ho Chi Minh 2006), and also European Junior champion in Baku 2007. But the British athlete still has two dreams to accomplish: a Senior World Championship and an Olympic medal.
Cook`s first dream couldn´t come true at Gyeongju 2011, where he suprisingly lost to the American Luke Ford in the last 64 round by 5 to 7. There is no doubt that this elimination was a major disappointment for the English fighter, but the consolation for him was so fascinating and close that he couldn’t waste a single minute reproaching himself for the World Championship’s fiasco: the possibility of a gold medal in the London 2012 Olympic Games was just 1 year ahead. But this premature disqualification made him take a significant decision: The Manchester-based fighter decided to quit the GB programme. Cook felt the GB programme’s insistence on more defensive tactics where inhibiting his natural attacking instincts and as such he recruited his own coaching staff to aid his London Olympic bid.
But like his previous unaccomplished aim, the Olympic dream did suddenly break as well. GB Taekwondo decided to select Lutalo Muhammad, ranked 59 in the world, instead of him to compete in London 2012. Cook didn´t understand the choice and appealed GB Taekwondo’ s decision, but finally decided to give up as the Federation´s best offer was to name him as the first reserve for the Games.
Now that London 2012 is over and Muhammad holds his bronze medal, Cook still seems to be decided to go for an Olympic medal and launches a threat: “My dream is to win an Olympic gold in Rio for Team GB but it’s going to be extremely difficult for me to move forward after everything that’s happened, so in three years I may be under a different flag”, stated on BBC Radio 5 live.
“I’m world number one, I’m reigning European champion, I’ve beaten the guy who they selected in front of me [Muhammad] and the Olympic gold [Sebastian Eduardo Crismanich] and silver [Nicolas Garcia Hemme] medallists this year – I should have been at that Olympics.”
Although GB performance director Gary Hall insisted there was ‘no witch-hunt’ against Cook during their Team GB selection, the fighter believes otherwise.
“It was all personal, it was nothing about what I had won,” stated the British Open champion to BBC Radio 5 live. “If these people don’t resign or don’t get fired then that’s realistically [competing for another nation] where we’re at.”
That´s it for now. We´ll kep you posted with the latest news regarding Cook´s threat.