TAEKWONDO: Cook reclaims world number one spot

BACK AT NUMBER ONE: Dorchester’s Aaron Cook in action against Russia’s Albert Gaun in the -80kg semi-final, during the World Grand Prix Series in Manchester

BACK AT NUMBER ONE: Dorchester’s Aaron Cook in action against Russia’s Albert Gaun in the -80kg semi-final, during the World Grand Prix Series in Manchester

First published in Sport by

AARON Cook has reclaimed his world number one status but will not be returning to the GB Taekwondo programme.

The Dorchester-born fighter quit the Great Britain set up in 2011 and was later overlooked for London 2012, with eventual bronze medallist Lutalo Muhammad being handed the spot instead.

Cook has since started to represent the Isle of Man instead and has always vowed not to return to the British system while those responsible for his Olympic snub remain part of the programme.

The 22-year-old finished third to Muhammad at the Manchester Grand Prix last month but he remains the reigning European champion and is determined to make it to Rio in 2016 through his own means.

Cook is now funded almost entirely by his parents after his UK Sport athlete funding was withdrawn following his decision to quit the GB academy.

GB Taekwondo has always left the door open for Cook to return to the set-up but have insisted that compromises would have to be made in order for that to happen.

The top-six ranked fighters come the final Grand Prix event in 2015 will automatically qualify for the Rio Olympics but it is still not known what would happen if two of those came from the same country.

Since the sport was officially included in the Olympics in 2000, only one athlete from each nation has been permitted per weight division.

With Muhammad currently lying fifth in the -80kg global standings, the GB selectors could well face the difficult decision of choosing between the pair once again.

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