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Shooting Australia defend care of Diamond

  • Shooting Australia defend care of Diamond

    Six-time Olympian Michael Diamond (pic)needs help according to fellow shooter Russell Mark.

Six-time Olympian Michael Diamond needs help according to fellow shooter Russell Mark.

The pair, who won gold together in 1996 at Atlanta, have endured a spectacular falling out in recent times, but Mark believes Shooting Australia must step in and aid his former teammate.

Diamond was charged with high-range drink driving on Saturday night at Nelson Bay, near Newcastle, while he has also lost his firearms licence after he was accused of not keeping a firearm safely and handling a firearm under the influence of alcohol.

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"Shooting Australia needs to suspend him or help him, but they can't ignore him," Mark told News Corp Australia.

"Forget about the Olympic medals. He's one of the greatest shots I've ever seen but he needs help.

"Everyone in the team talks about his drinking."

Diamond hit out at Mark last month through now-deleted social media posts, which labelled his former teammate "an absolute joke" and accused him of taking advantage of welfare recipients with the two pubs Mark owns on the outskirts of Melbourne.

Fairfax Media has also suggested the two-time gold medallist was allegedly drinking through the first day of a shooting event in Sydney last March, before skipping the second day to head to a casino.

The 44-year-old's selection in the team is still subject to a protest from teenager Mitchell Iles, who is challenging Shooting Australia at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, arguing he deserves a spot on the Rio team ahead of him.

Australia's Olympic team boss, Kitty Chiller, said on Monday it was up to Shooting Australia to decide whether they still wanted to nominate Diamond.

However the Australian Olympic Committee could overrule and decline selection.

"If a conviction is proven to have brought that athlete or their sport into disrepute, then yes it would (rule an athlete out)," Chiller said.

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