Cook considers Olympic challenge
World number one Aaron Cook will spend the weekend deliberating over whether to launch a legal challenge to his Olympics omission.
The British Olympic Association, after reviewing the GB Taekwondo's selection process, ratified the nomination of Lutalo Muhammad in the under-80kg division on Friday.
Barring any intervention from the World Taekwondo Federation, who are conducting their own investigation, it appears taking his case to the courts is Cook's last hope of participating at London 2012.
Talks will take place over the weekend between the 21-year-old, his management and legal team to decide what avenues are open to them after he was overlooked for selection three times.
Jamie Cunningham, chief executive of Cook's management company Professional Sports Group, was scathing in his condemnation of the selection process and subsequent decisions.
"It is an absolute disgrace that a British world number one has not been selected for the London Olympics by either his governing body or Olympic Association," he said in a statement.
"The STUK Taekwondo selectors should be ashamed of themselves.
"He is world number one, European champion and has beaten 10 of the top 15 athletes in the Olympic rankings in his most recent fights.
"What more could Aaron have done?
"We urge the World Taekwondo Federation to consider the ramifications of this flawed decision for their great sport.
"It makes a mockery of the taekwondo -80kg competition in the London Olympics.
"Aaron will be considering whether he wishes to pursue a legal route to contest this decision over the weekend."
Bob Mitchell, solicitor at law firm Harbottle & Lewis who are representing Cook, said: "Everyone is extremely disappointed by the outcome.
"We have retained a leading sports QC and will be deciding over the weekend what the best way is to proceed for Aaron from a legal and sports perspective.
"A further statement is likely to be issued early next week."
After a teleconference involving the BOA board, the Olympic Qualification Standards panel - which can only accept or reject nominations and is not permitted to select their own choice - then conferred with the WTF before coming to the conclusion to back the nomination of Muhammad.
However, the BOA said the OQS panel reserves the right to reconsider the nomination subject to the findings of the ongoing inquiry being led by WTF.
GB Taekwondo performance director Gary Hall welcomed the decision, saying: "This has been a long and difficult process for all involved, for the selection panel members and particularly for the two athletes concerned.
"Both are outstanding candidates and truly world-class, both capable of medalling in London.
"This has been the most difficult of selection decisions.
"I hope that we can now move on with our preparations for the Games and that Sarah (Stevenson), Jade (Jones), Martin (Stamper) and now Lutalo are given full support as they target medals for Great Britain this summer.
"In the meantime and together with British Taekwondo our national governing body, we will continue to give the World Taekwondo Federation our full cooperation as they conduct their review."
There was some criticism from the BOA for the way GB Taekwondo had managed the selection process.
"Our panel would have preferred to see the selection process managed in a manner that would have been of much greater service to both athletes," said BOA chief executive Andy Hunt.
"That said, after a thorough review, the panel is now sufficiently satisfied that the agreed selection procedures have been followed.
"With two exceptionally-talented athletes in consideration for one place there is no doubt this was a difficult decision for the British Taekwondo selection committee, which makes following the approved selection procedures all the more important."