According to iomtoday.co.im, the under-80kg fighter made the podium in an amazing nine competitions out of 11 in 2013, winning no fewer than five gold medals.
His first fight for the Isle of Man was in the Swedish Open in February, where he took gold. He finished the year with silver in the French Open, having won an incredible 34 bouts out of 40.
The World Taekwondo Federation gives ranking points to major international competitions, by December 2015 the top-six in each weight category automatically obtain a place in their national team for the Rio Olympics.
This rule change was brought in following Cook’s controversial non-selection for the Great Britain team at the London Olympics, to ensure more objectivity in the selection process.
Aaron can compete for the Isle of Man in all competitions except for the Olympics where he would compete for GB.
This was confirmed by the world body and the BOA earlier last year after Isle of Man Taekwondo Association successfully fought off an attempt to stop Cook representing the Isle of Man. Aaron is based in the island and spends his time between mentoring local students, training and competing internationally.
He will be flying the three legs when competing all over the world this year. One of his major highlights of 2013 was beating double Olympic champion and five-time world champion, the legendary Steven Lopez, at the first World Grand Prix in Manchester last month.
Isle of Man Taekwondo director Richard Halsall commented:
“It has been a fantastic 12 months, starting with Sky Sports breaking the news that Aaron was to fight for the island. Seeing a huge digital Manx flag against the Russian one in the semi-final of the World Grand Prix was a really proud moment for us. It has been a challenge for such a small association, but the World Taekwondo Federation has been incredibly supportive.”
Scott Physio has patched and prepared Aaron to face a gruelling fight schedule, and he now has financial sponsorship from Creechurch Capital for 2014.
“It will be an exciting year. Aaron will defend his double European title in Azerbaijan in May and compete against the top 32 in the world at three Grands Prix this year,” he commented.