Following a request from taekwondo athlete Aaron Cook to change his sporting nationality from British to Moldovan, the British Olympic Association (BOA) today announced that Cook’s request has been approved.
BOA CEO Bill Sweeney said:
“Our primary intention is always to ensure that the best athletes are eligible for selection for Team GB. Recognising Aaron Cook’s outstanding abilities and his performances on the world stage since 2012, the BOA’s preferred solution was to continue to work with all the interested parties to create an environment that provides a fair and equal opportunity for Aaron to be selected.
“As of today, Aaron Cook has a named place for Team GB for the Baku 2015 European Games. We strongly urged Aaron to re-consider his decision to make himself available for selection to Team GB in Baku and to represent his country of birth, rather than proceeding with a change of sporting nationality.”
“Despite the fact that there is no legitimate case for nationality change here, the BOA cannot compel any athlete to represent the United Kingdom against his or her will. As such, and as Aaron has now reiterated that he wishes to represent Moldova, rather than the country of his birth, at future taekwondo competitions, the BOA will not stand in his way.
“We are saddened by Aaron’s decision to make himself unavailable for selection for Team GB and to instead compete for Moldova, but we wish him all the best for the future.
“The BOA’s focus continues to be on fielding the best prepared, best supported, best performing Team GB for Baku and the Olympics in Rio.”