By Emily Goddard

aaron_cook_21-06-11June 21 - Great Britain Performance Director Gary Hall has confirmed the resignations from the Taekwondo World Class Performance programme (WCPP) of 2010 European champion Aaron Cook (pictured), fellow GB Academy member Mahama Cho, and High Performance coach Nelson Miller.

Cook, whose departure follows his surprise opening round defeat at the World Championships in May, has cited his reason for leaving as a wish to pursue his own development programme, while he is also rumoured to be attempting to turn his fifth at the 2008 Olympics into taekwondo gold at the London 2012 Games.

Before then the -80kg fighter is working to promote the ancient Korean martial art through the release of a video showcasing some basic taekwondo exercises as part of the launch of the Mars Refuel Drink Fund campaign, which will see £5,000 ($8,046/€5,708) donated to sporting individuals, teams and clubs every month until the end of September 2011.

On Cook's decision to leave the Manchester based GB Academy, Hall explained: "We wish Aaron all the very best in his future progress within the sport and we look forward to working with him again in the future.

"Since joining the programme almost four years ago Aaron has made solid progress and has achieved major medal honours as part of the GB Team.

"While he is no longer an Academy athlete, like Mahama, he remains eligible for selection for future GB teams as we look towards our own British Open, the European Championships and, of course, London 2012."

On the other hand, 21-year-old Ivory Coast born Cho, who came into the programme three years ago, has expressed a desire to further his university education, and while he will focus on his studies, he has expressed his intention to also stay in the sport.

"I am pleased Mahama remains committed to taekwondo and is keen to be considered for future GB teams," added Hall.

"He has achieved a lot during his time within the Academy and has been a great asset to GB Taekwondo."

Cuban-born Miller has decided to step away from the programme and return to his homeland in Holland where he previously coached the Dutch National squad.

Of the coach's contribution to the WCPP since his arrival in 2007 Hall, who intends on filling the vacancy created by Miller's departure, stated: "We're sad to be saying farewell to Nelson Miller.

"We wish him well and I'm sure we'll see him back in the UK at the British Open later in the year."

These departures come at a time when taekwondo is enjoying its most successful period, with Britain's players winning a record four medals at last month's WTF World Championships and last weekend's National Championships in Manchester attracting the highest ever entry level of nearly 550 competitors.

"These are exciting times for our sport," Hall added.

"We have enjoyed unprecedented success in recent years, spread throughout the Programme.

"We'll soon be able to announce some new additions to the Academy and the Performance Programme, both at senior level and junior.

"While we have one eye on next year's Olympics where we intend to be the best equipped and best prepared team in the competition, we are also planning for the future as our recent development initiatives demonstrate.

"We look forward with real optimism to what is going to be a momentous period for our sport in this country."

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