LONDON 2012: Muhammad confirmed on Team GB at the expense of Aaron Cook
LUTALO Muhammad has been formally accepted onto Great Britain's Olympic taekwondo team at the expense of two-time European champion and world number one welterweight Aaron Cook.
BELIEF: Aaron Cook, the world number one in taekwondo's welterweight division, will not compete at London 2012 after the British Olympic Association confirmed Lutalo Muhammad as Team GB's welterweight selection (Getty Images)
The British Olympic Association qualification standards panel unanimously voted to ratify British Taekwondo's controversial nomination but were strongly critical of the how the national governing body had handled the selection.
Cook had labelled the decision to select Muhammad ahead of him as 'incredible' - considering he won the welterweight gold at the recent European Championships and last year's Olympic test event.
Muhammad also won gold at the Europeans but at the higher -87kg weight category and has never beaten any of his main rivals in London - unlike Cook.
Team GB officials claimed they made their decision after consultation with the BOA's board of directors and the World Taekwondo Federation, who have also been critical of the sport's British governing body.
The whole sorry mess - from which few emerge with credit - leaves Cook's Olympic dreams in tatters and puts more pressure on fellow youngster Muhammad than possibly any other member of the 550-strong home team.
“There are two world-class athletes directly impacted by this nomination, and 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 Team GB chef de mission Andy Hunt.
“That said, after a thorough review, the panel is now sufficiently satisfied that the agreed selection procedures have been followed, and it is on that basis we are ratifying the nomination.
“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.”