I am speaking out today due to the anger I feel at the way Aaron Cook has been treated by British Taekwondo and the disgrace that this flawed selection process has brought on the sport of Taekwondo. I have over thirty years of competition and teaching experience in Taekwondo and I am shocked that British Taekwondo has decided not to select an athlete of Aaron’s proven quality. Aaron is the best Taekwondo athlete at his weight class in the world as shown by his world ranking, results at tournaments over the past year and performances against Olympic competitors in his weight category. Aaron is ranked Number 1 in the World and Olympic Rankings. Aaron has won the European & Olympic Test Events in the -80kg Olympic weight category and has beaten 10 of the Top 15 of his Olympic Rivals in their most recent fights and not fought the other five, whilst Lutalo has beaten 1 and lost to another - but not fought the other 13.
On Monday morning, I represented Aaron at the third Selection Panel Meeting. I felt deeply uncomfortable about the meeting for a number of reasons. We were given less than 24 hours notice to attend the meeting, which resulted in a number of representatives calling in on a conference call, including Lutalo’s father who is also his coach. I felt that the meeting was unbalanced in terms of the focus of the discussions and the selection criteria. Lutalo had two representatives, whereas Aaron only had one. The panel ignored the key performance criteria of their Selection Policy and they discussed a lot of irrelevant points. They focused heavily on the rewording of the head shot rule, which the WTF has clearly stated is a change of terminology rather than a change of ruling. They also disputed Aaron’s ranking as the number 1 ranked Taekwondo athlete in the world. This was based on opinion but few facts. Most disappointingly, Gary Hall challenged everything on Aaron. Every fact. Every ruling. Neither he nor his selectors challenged anything on Lutalo, which I do not understand. I also find it highly irregular that Gary left the room for 4 minutes to recharge his phone just prior to the conclusion from Lutalo’s father – as did three other selectors on a separate occasion. Finally I would question why we should be surprised that the same Selection Panel came to the same conclusion on three separate occasions.
I welcome WTF’s announcement that they will be reviewing the transparency of British Taekwondo’s selection process and I sincerely hope that this will result in the correct outcome.
Biography - Master Patrice Remarck
Master Patrice Remarck is a 6th DAN black belt with over 30 years of competition and teaching experience in Taekwondo. An Olympian, World Champion, and founder of Team RST, Master Patrice Remarck has an impeccable record of success. Recognised as one of the world’s preeminent coaches, Master Remarck has acquired an international reputation of athletic excellence at the highest level of competition. He has captured more than 50 Gold medals from diverse National Championships and the World Championships. He was also the second only non-Korean to ever take Gold at the 1991 World Military Games in Seoul, Korea.
Now as a coach his creative and innovative style integrates scientific theory with practice and makes his approach one of the best in the United States and throughout the world. He has the only officially designated I.O.C. High Performance Training Centre in the US, meaning the International Olympic Committee sends top athletes from around the world to train at his dojang, Remarck Sport Taekwondo. This has led to proven results: for example, the only African champions on the podium at the 2009 World Championships were from Master Remarck’s training program.