Cook: Taekwondo row a nightmare
Aaron Cook has hit out at GB Taekwondo over his non-selection for the Olympics, which has left him feeling "numb".
Cook, world number one in the under-80kg division, has been omitted from London 2012 in favour of Lutalo Muhammad, who has stepped down from the under-87kg class where he won a European title in Manchester earlier this year.
The decision has created controversy and Cook has called a press conference for later this morning, where he is expected to reveal whether he plans further legal moves, having seen an appeal to the British Olympic Association fail.
But the 21-year-old believes there is an agenda against him after he resigned from the Great Britain world-class performance programme to pursue his own training schedule outside the guidance of GB Taekwondo last June.
"It is hard to put into words," Cook told the Daily Telegraph. "I just feel numb. The last five weeks have just been a nightmare.
"My results are vastly superior to Lutalo's. The quality of players I have faced is far higher and I have won nine of my last 12 tournaments.
"I have recently defeated 10 of the top 15 qualified 2012 Olympians and world medallists including five-time world champion and two-time Olympic champion Steven Lopez and the current under-87kg world champion Yousef Karami and the under-80kg world champion Farzad Abdollahi.
"According to my coach, Patrice Remarck, GB Taekwondo also questioned my ability to perform under pressure and how I might perform in front of a home crowd.
"I find this a strange point as I have a proven track record of success under pressure at home as well as abroad, including seven British Open wins, an Olympic test event win and the European Championship.
"Why have I not been selected? Simple. Because I left the British Taekwondo system last year."
Barring any intervention from the World Taekwondo Federation, it appears taking his case to the courts is Cook's last hope of participating at London 2012.
Muhammad, ranked 59th in the world in the under-80kg division, insists the controversy has been hard on him too and should now be put behind them as the focus turns towards the Games.
"It's been tough on both of us," he said.
"It was always going to be a tough decision that would have created a tough ordeal for both of us.
"But I think the situation has really been blown way out of proportion more than any of us expected.
"It's been tough on both of us and I don't really think that's been fair. At the end of the day we're both European champions.
"We both just want to compete to the best of our ability so I think the fact that there's been all this going on is probably not fair on me or him."