Aaron Cook: Moldova switch is easy option - Damon Sansum

Aaron Cook (left)
Aaron Cook has won European Championships gold in 2010 and 2012 in the 80kg class

Aaron Cook has taken the easy option to switch nationality and represent Moldova, according to former Great Britain team-mate Damon Sansum.

Cook, 24, was in Team GB at the 2008 Olympics, but was overlooked for London 2012, despite being world number one.

The British Olympic Association (BOA) reluctantly agreed to his request to switch nations earlier this month.

"I would prefer to take the tough route to win the right to represent Team GB," said 28-year-old Sansum.

"Aaron has gone to a country where he is guaranteed selection for the Olympics and that kind of thing is a dream for every athlete.

"I don't think it's for the greater good of sport that these things can be allowed to happen, but it doesn't change my situation and I am focused on doing what I need to do to go to Rio."

Cook has no family links to Moldova but had been actively looking for another nation to represent to enable him to go to the 2016 Olympics.

He left the GB Taekwondo set-up in 2011, a move he believed - and GB Taekwondo has always denied - was behind his Olympic snub.

The fighter instead has been representing the Isle of Man.

Sansum, who has won two of the four competitive meetings between the pair, could face Cook at next month's World Championships in Moldova.

How can Cook switch nationalities?
Footballers cannot switch nations after representing one country in a competitive international, but there is no such rule in Olympic sports.
The Olympic Charter rules that three years must pass between an athlete representing one nation before switching to another.
Cook last competed for GB at the European Championships in May 2012, meaning he would be eligible to switch in May 2015.
However, the BOA believe that competing for the Isle of Man - a British crown dependency - counts as a British appearance. That meant Cook either had to take the issue to court, or gain approval from the BOA.

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