Peters defends Taekwondo panel
The integrity of Great Britain Taekwondo's selectors should not be called into question over the Aaron Cook row, says Dr Steve Peters.
World number one Cook is threatening legal action after being overlooked for a third time by the panel, a decision which has prompted separate reviews by the Britsh Olympic Association and World Taekwondo Federation.
Patrice Remarck, Cook's coach for the last year since he left the GB Taekwondo set-up, claims there are obvious flaws in the system and selectors have "manufactured" the nomination of Lutalo Muhammad with the criteria they have applied.
But non-executive director Peters, a respected sports psychiatrist who has observed the selection process at close-quarters in his role at GB Taekwondo, insists a honest appraisal has been made in nominating Muhammad in the under-80kg division ahead of Cook, who leads the world and Olympic rankings.
"It is a bit unfair on the coaches that their integrity has been called into question," Peters said.
"They are honest people trying to give an honest opinion and if we can't trust them it is becoming a little bit sad.
"The opinion of people in the room was that they were both capable of going to the Olympics and getting a gold medal.
"The coaches were in an incredibly impossible position faced with two exceptional lads, neither who deserved to be in this position.
"It is not a 60/40 decision in favour of one, it is more like 51/49."
But while Cook awaits the BOA decision his solicitors are exploring their options
"I can confirm that we are advising Aaron on the possible legal avenues which may be open to him," said Bob Mitchell, a partner at London law firm Harbottle & Lewis.
"Aaron would prefer not to take legal action but will do so if necessary as he feels very strongly about how the selection process has been conducted and also that he has the greatest chance of being successful at the Games."
Remarck was critical of the selection process, saying: "I am not going to judge their integrity but they put too much weight on other things (rather than results) and if you do that you come to the wrong conclusion.
"In 13 championships Aaron has won 10 gold medals and two bronze and his last success was at the European Championships.
"Aaron is the best not just because of his world ranking but he is the best because he has beaten the best people in the division."
The WTF had hoped the issue would be resolved without them but have now become involved.
"The manner of the selection is bringing our sport into disrepute among the UK media and major Olympic stakeholders due to a perceived lack of transparency," said secretary general Jean-Marie Ayer, who insisted the WTF would not interfere in individual selections.
GB Taekwondo insist they want a quick resolution and are confident they have followed correct procedure.
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