By Michael Pavitt

Aaron Cook (right) has not represented Great Britain since 2012 ©Getty ImagesAaron Cook, taekwondo's current world number one in the under 80 kilogram weight category, has sought to change nationality from Britain to Moldova to ensure that he will qualify for next year's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. 

The decision to seek Moldovan nationality dates back three years ago when the world number one was controversially overlooked by British Taekwondo for London 2012 with Lutalo Muhammad selected instead, who went on to win bronze.

Cook claimed the decision related to him opting out of the national training programme following a disagreement with coaches, a claim the British team deny.

Following the decision Cook has not represented Great Britain.

He represented the Isle of Man at last year's European Championships in Baku, winning the gold medal and beating Britain's Damon Sansum in the final. 

With only one athlete selected per nation, Cook could be at risk of being overlooked again for Rio 2016 by Britain, despite his world ranking.

But he we be almost assured of a place if he represents Moldova and finishes in the top six of the world rankings at the end of this year.

The 24-year-old from Dorcester has now written to the British Olympic Association (BOA) seeking their approval to change his nationality to Moldovan, having become a citizen in late 2014, a move approved by the World Taekwondo Federation.

insidethegames have approached British Taekwondo but they claimed it was a matter for the BOA.

Lutalo Muhammad was selected for London 2012 instead of Cook and won bronze ©Getty ImagesLutalo Muhammad was selected for London 2012 instead of Cook and won bronze ©Getty Images

A BOA spokesperson told insidethegames that "We are aware of the situation and nationality change request regarding Aaron Cook's future Olympic Games participation.

"The BOA will be liaising with all parties to carefully consider the request."

If the switch is approved, Cook would likely become the country's best chance of winning a first Olympic gold medal, having only won two silver medals and seven bronze in their history.

Additionally, having not competed from Britain since 2012,e would be eligible to compete for Moldova at the 2015 European Games in Baku during June. 

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