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Cook wins gold for Isle of Man

Aaron Cook wins gold for Isle of Man Photo: Adam Davy/EMPICS Sport

Aaron Cook won gold at the Trelleborg Open in Sweden today after competing under the Isle of Man banner for the first time since his controversial omission from the Great Britain Olympic Taekwondo squad.

Cook, 22, beat former British team-mate Andrew Deer en route to victory in the under-80 kilograms category, where he defeated Bosnian Armin Gredic in the final.

Nottingham's Ruebyn Richards had to be content with bronze after he lost his -80kgs semi-final.

Despite being ranked number one in his weight division by the World Taekwondo Federation, Cook - who decided to leave the Manchester Academy and train independently during the end of the Olympic cycle - Lutalo Muhammad was handed a place at London 2012 ahead of Cook. Muhammad went on to win a bronze medal after his selection was finally ratified following a drawn-out appeal.

Although Olympic champion Jade Jones failed to reach the medal fights yesterday in the -57kg category, Liverpudlian Bianca Walkden maintained her good form with another gold in the +73kgs, adding to French Open success in December.

There was more British success this afternoon as Damon Sansum - like Walkden, another of the Manchester Academy elite fighters who were not selected on the four-strong Olympic team, collected the +87kgs title.

Cook says his relationship with the British Taekwondo coaching staff has irretrievably broken down, and cannot contemplate working within the current set-up again on the road towards the Rio Olympics.

Writing on his Facebook page following today's victory, Cook said: "The Isle of Man Taekwondo Association is great to be part of, full of volunteers giving up their time and money for its members.

"It's an honour to win the Isle of Man's first A Class Title!!"

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