Exclusive: "I've no regrets" says BOA chief as heat grows hotter over Cook
Friday, 08 June 2012
June 8 - Andy Hunt, the British Olympic Association (BOA) chief executive, has admitted that the ongoing situation regarding the non-selection of world number one and European champion Aaron Cook for London 2012 by British Taekwondo has been "unbelievably time-consuming" but feels his organisation are dealing with it in the correct way.
The World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) has now stepped into the row by launching a review into British Taekwondo's selection process, which it claims has brought the sport "into disrepute".
Instead of picking Cook (pictured below in blue vest), the 21-year-old from Dorchester who is considered to be an outstanding prospect for a gold medal, British Taekwondo chose Lutalo Muhammad, the European -87kg champion who will need to drop down a weight to fight in the division.
The WTF decision comes after three meetings of the British Taekwondo selection panel, with Muhammad nominated for the -80 kilograms category each time.
Hunt (pictured above), who is also the Team GB Chef de Mission, said he is now looking to speak with the WTF about the review and said that no further action can take place until the conversation has been had.
"Following the World Taekwondo Federation [WTF] launching an investigation into the British Taekwondo's selection process after saying has brought the sport 'into disrepute', we have done two things," Hunt told insidethegames.
"The first is that we haven't made a decision around the ratification of the nomination of Lutalo Muhammad.
"We have had a conference call with the BOA Board this morning to seek some guidance on the matter of exceptional circumstances because this is a slightly unprecedented situation.
"We have a lot of sports representation on our Board so we listened to them very carefully.
"The second is that we will talk to the WTF today and try to understand why they have chosen to undertaken an investigation.
"We want to know the inside knowledge they have to make that call for the investigation, when the investigation will take place, how long it will take and who will be involved.
"Following that conversation, we can look at whether we can come to a decision on this issue.
"That will be driven by what the WTF say.
"Until we have that information, it is difficult to say much more.
"So I can't categorically say when we will have a decision on this.
Hunt added that the issue, which has dragged on for months, has been a time-consuming process but not a burden to the BOA even though there are now less that 50 days to go before the Olympic Games start.
"It is not an unnecessary hindrance because at the end of the day, it is our job to make sure that a fair process has taken place, that a selection process is agreed and adhered to and that we have the right candidate," he said.
"It is a massive honour to be selected for Team GB at a home Games and we have to get that right.
"It has been unbelievably time-consuming but I don't regret our actions to make sure that this is a fair process.
"That is one of the key reasons why we are here."
June 2012: World Taekwondo Federation concerned by "lack of transparency" over Cook omission
June 2012: Cook snubbed again as British Taekwondo stand by decision to pick rival
June 2012: Alan Hubbard - What we have now is unseemly bickering over selection processes that bedevils Team GB at the worst possible time
June 2012: Ignoring world number one is "best for the British Olympic team" claim taekwondo officials
May 2012: BOA refuse to ratify decision to leave Cook out of London 2012 taekwondo squad