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Page last updated at 12:35 GMT, Wednesday, 9 June 2010 13:35 UK

GB pair Stevenson and Cook top taekwondo rankings

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Stevenson hopes changing her weight category will bring her 2012 glory

Britain's Sarah Stevenson and Aaron Cook have become world number one in their taekwondo weight divisions.

The pair secured gold medals at the European Championships held in Russia in May and are both hotly tipped for glory at the 2012 London Olympics.

Olympic bronze medallist Stevenson said: "It's great to be named world number one and is a nice benchmark in my preparation for the major events."

Both compete at September's British International Open in Manchester.

The career of 27-year-old Stevenson is back on track having suffered 18 months of injury frustration since her bronze at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

606: DEBATE

After two operations on her right ankle, Stevenson, experimenting in the 62-67kg category this season, has gone on to become champion at last year's British Taekwondo Championships and the 2010 European Championships in St Petersburg.

Looking ahead to the International Open at the Manchester Regional Arena on 25-26 September, the Doncaster star added: "I'll be looking for a good result and then hope to take some good form through to the 2011 World Championships and London 2012."

Meanwhile, 19-year-old Cook goes from strength to strength after narrowly missing out on a podium finish at the Beijing Olympics two years ago.

The Mancunian fully made his mark on the world stage last year when he beat world and Olympic Champion Steve Lopez.

The knock-out victory came during a World Tour match in Mexico with Cook describing his beaten opponent as the "Muhammad Ali" of the sport and the win as the greatest of his career.

Cook is determined to win gold in 2012

Cook secured his first senior gold at the European Championships in May with an impressive defeat of Greece's Nikolaos Tzellos in the under 80kg category.

On topping the world rankings, the fighter from Dorset said: "Becoming number one was a challenge I set myself for this year and I am ecstatic to have achieved it so early on.

"We have a couple more big events coming up. However, it is hard not to look ahead to London 2012 which is my biggest goal and the main focus of all the preparation work I am doing at the moment."

Cook was one of the youngest British competitors at the 2008 Olympics, where he made the semi-finals, only to have his hopes dashed when he was controversially adjudged to have lost his semi-final against Italian Mauro Sarmiento.



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see also
Stevenson and Cook win Euro golds
15 May 10 |  Taekwondo
Stevenson clinches British gold
30 Aug 09 |  Taekwondo
Taekwondo improves judging system
14 Oct 09 |  Taekwondo
Cook delight after beating champ
16 Nov 09 |  Taekwondo
Reprieved Stevenson takes bronze
23 Aug 08 |  Taekwondo
GB Taekwondo eye new talent plan
23 Oct 09 |  Taekwondo
What makes a top taekwondo player?
29 May 07 |  Taekwondo
Taekwondo scoring explained
23 Aug 08 |  Taekwondo
Sarah Stevenson's guide to taekwondo
11 Apr 08 |  Taekwondo


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