1. ITV Report

The Brit who's competing for Moldova in Rio

Aaron Cook is representing Moldova in Rio. Credit: PA Archive
  • UPDATE: Aaron Cook lost in the opening round to Chinese Taipei's Liu Wei-Ting

British taekwondo fighter Aaron Cook is representing Moldova at the Rio Olympics.

Cook gained Moldovan citizenship after controversially failing to make the London 2012 Games, even though he was ranked number one at the time.

Cook's place was given to Lutalo Muhammad who went on to win a bronze medal.

Since the snub, Cook vowed never to compete for Britain while performance director Gary Hall and chairman Adrian Tranter were still in charge.

The 25-year-old from Dorset represented the Isle of Man at the European Championship in 2013 and won the title.

He was actively looking for a country to represent in 2016 when Moldova's taekwondo president and billionaire Igor Iuzefovici funded his citizenship.

Cook could fight Britain's Lutalo Muhammad in Rio. Credit: PA
Aaron Cook (l) could fight Britain's Lutalo Muhammad. Credit: PA Wire

The British Olympic Association reluctantly allowed Cook's allegiance switch - even though he has no connection with Moldova - after talks to heal the rift with the athlete were unsuccessful.

Now Cook and Muhammad could come face-to-face in Rio, as they are on opposite sides of the draw, and would meet if they both make the final.

Both fighters will begin their campaign for taekwondo gold in the men's -80kg competition later.

Cook was ranked world number one in taekwondo in 2012. Credit: PA

Who is Aaron Cook?

  • Aaron Cook was born in Dorchester in Dorset on January 2 1991
  • He is a three-time European taekwondo champion
  • Represented Great Britain in the 2008 Beijing Games
  • Failed to be selected for the London 2012 Games
  • Chose to represent Isle of Man from 2013-2015
  • In April 2015 he was allowed to represent Moldova
  • Won bronze for Moldova at the 2016 European Championships
  • Will compete for Moldova at the Olympic Games in Rio