SYDNEY (Reuters) - Twice Olympic champion shooter Michael Diamond will not be allowed to represent Australia at the Rio Games following his arrest on drunk driving and firearms offences, Shooting Australia ruled on Thursday.
Diamond, who won back-to-back trap gold medals at the Atlanta and Sydney Olympics, had his firearms license suspended after being arrested in the wake of a domestic dispute in Nelson Bay, New South Wales in late May.
The 44-year-old had been hoping to become only the second Australian to compete in seven Summer Games but Shooting Australia ruled him ineligible after an Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) executive hearing on Thursday.
“The incident involving Michael Diamond has, in our view, put our sport in a position which is inappropriate,” Shooting Australia chief Damien Marangon said in a statement.
“This has been an extremely difficult time for Michael and Shooting Australia will continue to be here for him as he needs.”
The AOC executive supported the decision, having found “no basis on which to excuse the breaches” of the body’s nomination and selection standards.
Diamond has a right to appeal his “non-nomination”, the AOC said.
The shooter earlier protested his innocence and told reporters he would fight “all the way” to be allowed to compete in Brazil, increasing the likelihood he will ultimately take his appeal to the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS).
Chef de Mission Kitty Chiller is determined to foster a strong culture within the Rio team after the country’s disappointing showing at the London Games was accompanied by a string of scandals involving some Australian swimmers.
Diamond has been charged with “high range” drink driving, not keeping firearms safe and handling or using firearms while under the influence of alcohol.
His case will not be heard by a court until July 24, after the AOC deadline for team selection.
Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Amlan Chakraborty