Published: Tuesday October 9, 2012 MYT 9:34:00 PM
Briton Cook may change nationality for 2016 Games
LONDON: Britain's Aaron Cook, the world's top ranked taekwondo fighter, admitted on Tuesday that he is ready to consider changing nationalities in a bid to compete at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
Cook was controversially axed from Britain's Olympic squad for the recent London Games despite his position as the sport's leading star and he doesn't believe he would earn a recall under the current regime.
Lutalo Muhammad, who was ranked 56th in the world, was selected ahead of him for London in the -80kg division and Cook claims the snub was down to his decision to quit the sport's World Class Performance Programme to train on his own.
With the next Olympics in Brazil four years away, Cook is determined to ensure his future is resolved so he can go for gold this time.
"I want to win gold in Rio and, ideally, I'd love it to be for Great Britain but as it stands at the moment with the likes of Gary Hall, Steven Jennings and Adrian Tranter involved, there is just no possible way that I can work with these people," Cook was quoted as saying in the Daily Telegraph.
"Unless they resign or someone takes them out of the equation, it's going to be impossible to work with them.
"In the worst-case scenario, I've got to look at another country. If that's the only way I can win gold in Rio, then that's what I've got to do."
Unless there is leadership change at British Taekwondo, Cook admits his only other option would be to switch allegiance to another country, with the United States his most likely choice.
That would require him to serve a three-year qualifying period during which he would be ineligible for international championships.
"I dreamed of winning a gold medal for Great Britain and holding my flag high and singing the national anthem," Cook said.
"It would be really sad to let that go and I don't want to let that go, but I want an Olympic gold medal around my neck and I'll do anything I can to make that happen." -AFP