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Diamond ruled out of Rio Olympics team

  • Diamond ruled out of Rio Olympics team

    Michael Diamond has declared he's "totally innocent" and should be allowed to compete at the Rio.

Two-time Olympic shooting gold medallist Michael Diamond has declared he's "totally innocent" of drink-drinking and firearms charges and should be allowed to compete at the Rio Games.

Diamond and his legal representatives have arrived at the Australian Olympic Committee's headquarters in Sydney, where the executive board is convening to give the veteran trap shooter a chance to argue his case.

Shooting Australia chief executive Damien Marangon is also expected to speak to the board.

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"I'm innocent, totally innocent," Diamond said on his way into the AOC building on Thursday morning.

"And I'm prepared to fight it all the way.

"I'm not backing down."

Diamond's shooting licence was suspended last month over the alleged offences but his case is not expected back in court until July 25, after the AOC's July 4 cut-off for team selection.

When asked why he should be allowed to represent Australia in Brazil in August, Diamond said: "Why shouldn't I?"

The 44-year-old said a shot at winning a third gold medal at a seventh Olympics was his "life".

"It's my livelihood," he said.

"I'm a professional sportsman at the end of the day.

"Obviously going seven in a row, that should say something."

Diamond said he believed he was a good representative of Australia.

Even if the AOC board do not rule that Diamond has brought the sport into disrepute, his lack of a gun licence could determine his fate.

The AOC is believed to have written to the International Shooting Federation to clarify whether he would still be permitted to shoot at the Olympics without a gun licence.

Further complicating matters is that his place in the team was already in doubt, with teenage star Mitchell Iles lodging an appeal over the selection of Diamond and Adam Vella to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

That challenge was heard last week, with a decision imminent.

"I wish Mitchell all the very best," Diamond said.

"He's a young man developing through the ranks of our sport.

"We've just got to wait and see what the AOC say today."

Diamond wants to become just the second Australian to compete at seven Olympics, a milestone that equestrian great Andrew Hoy reached at London in 2012.

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