Mark wants IOC to let Diamond compete - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Mark wants IOC to let Diamond compete

By Jordan Baker 29/01/2004 11:17:19 PM Comments (0)

Olympic champion shooter Russell Mark is calling on Australian officials to ask the International Olympic Committee to give Michael Diamond special leave to compete in Athens.

Mark said such a move would be unprecedented, but so was a situation in which a dual gold medal-winning shooter missed out on Olympic trials due to court charges that were eventually dismissed.

He said he was discussing the possible appeal with IOC Athletes' Commission delegate and former swimming gold medallist Susie O'Neill and was seeking the support of AOC chief John Coates.

Mark has already failed in an appeal to the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) for a special wildcard entry for Diamond and said the IOC was the next step.

"We really need the AOC to sanction it, if it's going to have any credibility it's going to have to come from the AOC," Mark told AAP.

"I can't see why it would hurt to try it ... surely all the IOC can do is say no, we don't want to create a precedent by doing that - but at least then we know, at the moment' no-one's done it.

"I just hope with a letter of compassion coming from Susie O'Neill and John Coates and the Australian Athletes Commission, hopefully someone within the IOC that can make this decision will say okay, he's won back to back Olympic gold medals, he's been put in a position where he couldn't compete in the trials through no fault of his own.

"But he's someone in the Olympic movement that would be great to have (the) opportunity, I mean three gold medals in a row hasn't been done too often."

A Queanbeyan magistrate cleared Diamond of assaulting his ex-girlfriend in a car park last September and freed him without conviction on a firearms charge.

His gun licence was suspended during the court hearing which ended on Thursday, meaning he lost four months worth of training and missed out on the crucial first Olympic trials.

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