Top seed in men’s -80kg category, Cook could face former team mate and rival, Lutalo Muhammad, who was selected in Team GB ahead of him for the 2012 London Games, in Thursday’s semi-final at the inaugural European Games.
The 24-year-old three-time European champion had previously fought for the Isle of Man before switching allegiances to represent Moldova, for whom he claimed bronze at last month’s world championships in Russia.
Alongside realistic medal prospects he can also claim valuable ranking points for the Rio 2016 Olympics.
Cook, whose girlfriend Bianca Walkden represents Team GB, said the possibility of standing atop the podium in Baku listening to “Limba Nostra” rather than “God Save the Queen” was a strange proposition but he was not really bothered.
“The national anthem doesn’t really mean that much to me anymore,” the Dorset-born taekwondo fighter told reporters.
“Yes, of course (it would be strange). My girlfriend won the world championships a couple of weeks ago and the national anthem was going up and it was emotional for her and me. I was crying for her because she won.
“I am fighting for myself when I am there. I have found it very easy. It’s exactly the same mat, the same arena. It is just that I have different letters on the back of my suit.
“I had to move on. Now it is about looking at the future, not worrying about the past. Moldova have given me all the support I need, so I am extremely grateful for everything they have done.
“Of course, I was absolutely devastated at the time, but now I am fighting for Moldova, I am extremely happy.”
Dwelling on his possible showdown with Muhammad, Cook said, “It would be nice to fight him, but I will fight anybody. Everyone is the same to me now. It’s just another country. They are just like any other team, like Spain or Turkey. Just another competitor standing in my way.”
Source: UK Reuters