Lack of finance forces Cook to give up London 2012 taekwondo appeal
Friday, 29 June 2012
June 29 - Aaron Cook will definitely not compete at London 2012 after dropping legal proceedings against the British Olympic Association (BOA), because he claims he can no longer afford to fight against his exclusion.
The world number one had been controversially overlooked by GB Taekwondo for the -80 kilogram spot, who instead chose Lutalo Muhammad.
The BOA only ratified the decision following three selection meetings.
Cook's lawyers Harbottle and Lewis wrote to the BOA last week claiming that they had new evidence which meant the case should be reopened.
But the BOA refused the request and also stopped Cook from taking his case to the Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) because under the Olympic Charter CAS can only be used by athletes nominated for an Olympic Games.
"After careful consideration over the last few weeks, and despite my representatives advising me that I still had a good chance of successfully overturning the BOA's ratification of Great Britain Taekwondo's decision not to select me for London 2012, I have decided not to take my case against the BOA to the High Court," said Cook in a statement.
"The financial implications for me, and, more importantly, for my parents, of doing so are too prohibitive.
"I am really disappointed that the BOA did not agree to my case being heard at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
"It is the specialist forum for sports-related matters.
"The High Court is significantly more expensive, time-consuming and does not have the experience or expertise in dealing with sports-related disputes."
The 21-year-old from Dorchester has also given up any hope of the investigation currenly being carried out by the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) overturning the decision and allowing him to compete at London 2012.
"The World Taekwondo Federation is currently conducting a review of British Taekwondo's selection process," he said in the satement.
"It has already publicly stated that the selection process has brought the sport into disrepute due to a perceived lack of transparency.
"I welcome this investigation but I am hugely disappointed that the WTF has now indicated that it will not finalise the review and findings in time for London 2012.
"This is particularly disappointing as the BOA had reserved the right to reconsider its decision to ratify Great Britain Taekwondo's nomination in light of the WTF's findings.
"I do hope that the WTF will consider after the Games a new automatic selection criteria for the top 10 athletes in the world rankings in each weight category for future Olympics and World Championships.
"I also hope that UK Sport and the BOA act to resolve the long-term issues that have been revealed by my case.
"In the best interests of Team GB, I have decided not to take up the offer to be first reserve for London 2012.
"Clearly it would be hugely difficult for me to work with their coaches in view of what has happened in the last few weeks.
"I wish all of the athletes the very best of luck – that includes Lutalo Muhammad.
"I love my country.
"I love my sport. I don't think that I could have done any more in terms of my performance.
"I will sit down with my team though and consider my best way forward in the coming months.
"I have nothing more to say at this stage. I will not be doing any media interviews.
"The Olympics, and especially a home Olympics, would have been the pinnacle of my career.
"I feel totally devastated."
June 2012: BOA has "legal and moral obligation" to let Cook take case to CAS, says lawyers
June 2012: Cook's London 2012 hopes dashed again as BOA refuse to consider "new evidence"
June 2012: Selection criteria must become "much clearer" after London 2012, insists BOA chief executive
June 2012: Olympic taekwondo selection been "tough situation" for both athletes says Muhammad
June 2012: World number one will miss London 2012 after BOA ratify British Taekwondo decision not to pick him