TAEKWONDO: Cook and Lutalo turn up the heat

Dorset Echo: SHOWDOWN: Aaron Cook SHOWDOWN: Aaron Cook

A WAR of words between Aaron Cook and Lutalo Muhammad continues to dominate the build-up to this weekend’s World Taekwondo Grand Prix in Manchester.

The two could face each other on Saturday for the first time since Muhammad was controversially chosen ahead of Dorch-ester’s Cook for London 2012.

GB Taekwondo’s decision to pick Muhammad, who went on to win Olympic bronze, incensed Cook, pictured, so much that he is now competing for the Isle of Man.

The 22-year-olds are both competing at -80kg in Manchester and a meeting between the pair would be one of the biggest grudge matches the sport has ever seen.

And the two men have been forthright in their take on the situation.

Muhammad described Cook’s appeals against his omission from Team GB as “nasty and unnecessary” while adding that if he did take on his rival it would be “just another fight”.

Cook, his former GB Academy team-mate, said: “There are lots of people who would like to see that fight – I would like to fight him for sure.

“There’s only going to be one winner and it’s going to be me.”

But Cook and Muhammad are unlikely to have it all their own way in the -80kg category at the WTF event.

Olympic champion Sebastian Crismanich, 2011 world gold medallist and current world number one Ramin Azizov, and reigning world champion Tahir Gulec are all in town gunning for first prize.

The World Grand Prix is the first event of its kind and competitors are battling for Rio 2016 qualification points as well as podium places.

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