Hall - GB Taekwondo followed protocol

Aaron Cook (right)

Aaron Cook (right)

First published in National Sport © by

Performance director Gary Hall maintains GB Taekwondo followed Olympic selection protocol "to the letter" in making the "extremely difficult decision" to exclude European champion Aaron Cook, which was not ratified by the British Olympic Association.

Cook was expected to secure nomination for the under-80kgs category on a four-strong team, having retained his European title in Manchester at the start of May. However, the 21-year-old, set to be ranked world number one, was overlooked in favour of Lutalo Muhammad, who would have to drop down a weight division for the Olympics.

"We followed the process to the letter and considered everything we said we were going to consider in the selection procedure," Hall said."This panel takes its job very seriously, it had to select the best athlete to do the job in London."

His exclusion prompted Cook to write to the BOA after an internal appeal to Sports Resolution Ltd returned the same outcome, and which saw last week's scheduled Team GB squad announcement postponed.

The BOA's Olympic Qualification Standards (OQS) panel has met GB Taekwondo and asked them to look again at the selection, raising certain issues over the process, including the weight given to head-shots and that all votes should be cast as well as asking for an "independent observer" at the next meeting.

Hall maintains the GB Taekwondo panel, which is made up of high performance coaches, had followed the guidelines set out in their own Olympic selection policy documentation, which was signed by all athletes who want to compete at the Games, and was not based purely on results.

He said: "The professional opinions of these guys have taken British Taekwondo forward to historic performances over the last two years. There is no reason to suggest their decision making now is in any way shape or form flawed.

"It has been an extremely difficult decision to make, with two world-class athletes to consider. They have considered it professionally and with no bias, in accordance to the procedure everyone accepted when we started on this journey."

Cook indicated in a statement his decision to quit the British Taekwondo's World Class Performance Programme in Manchester and train independently counted against him. But Hall said: "It does not matter whether you are inside the Academy, outside the Academy or work overseas. Wherever you are, it is about who is the best man for the job."

GB Taekwondo are considering their position before deciding whether or not to appeal against the BOA ruling - they have 24 hours to do so.

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