AARON Cook was proud to hold aloft the Manx flag at the opening ceremony of this week’s WTF World Taekwondo Championships in Puebla in Mexico.
The Dorchester-born fighter is now representing the Isle of Man after being overlooked by British Taekwondo in his weight category ahead of the 2012 Olympics, despite being world number one at the time.
Cook has since described the snub as the “worst couple of months of his life” but he is now concentrating on the future and determined to prove his doubters wrong.
The 22 year-old will begin his campaign in Mexico with a bout against Poland’s Piotr Pazinski or Ukraine’s Maksym Dominishyn, and faces a possible quarter-final clash against three-time World gold medallist Steven Lopez of the USA.
One man Cook will not meet though is Lutalo Muhammad, the man that was selected ahead of him at the London Games and went on to win a bronze medal.
The latter has returned to the -87kg category in which he claimed European gold in May 2012.
Commenting through his Twitter account, Cook said: “Very proud to have held the Isle of Man flag at the opening ceremony. It was a great show and opening – let the 2013 World Championships begin.”
Cook has publicly revealed that he will always represent the Isle of Man now and is looking forward to a bright future with the team.
Manx athletes compete under the British flag at the Olympic Games and he is hoping that representing the island could lead to Olympic qualification without having to go through the GB system.
The current world number two has already enjoyed success under the Manx banner having won the Trelleborg Open in Sweden back in February.