AFP Sydney, Australia
Jun 30, 2016, 09.57 AM
Australian shooting champion Michael Diamond was banned on Thursday to appear at his seventh Olympics in Rio after being charged with drunk-driving and firearms offences.
The 44-year-old double Olympic gold medallist was arrested in May after an alleged domestic incident with his brother and his future had been in the balance since.
"Shooting Australia today advised Michael Diamond and the Australian Olympic Committee that he is ineligible for nomination to the AOC for selection to the 2016 Australian Olympic team," the AOC said in a statement.
"Shooting Australia arrived at its position after considering the AOC's nomination and selection standards."
Diamond, a trap shooting gold medallist at the Atlanta and Sydney Olympics, denied the offences, including having a shotgun and 150 rounds of ammunition in his car, when he appeared before a court this month.
On his way to the hearing at AOC headquarters in Sydney on Thursday, he said: "I am innocent, totally innocent. And I am prepared to fight it all the way."
He further added "I am a professional sportsman at the end of the day, and obviously going to seven (Olympics) in a row, that should say something,"
AOC rules state that any athlete nominated must be in good standing with their national federation and must not have brought themselves, their sport or the Olympic movement into disrepute.
"The incident involving Michael Diamond has, in our view, put our sport in a position which is inappropriate," said Shooting Australia chief executive Damien Marangon.
"This is an extremely difficult time for Michael and Shooting Australia will continue to be there for him as he needs."
Diamond made his Olympic debut at Barcelona in 1992. He finished just outside the medals in fourth at London four years ago.
He is also a five-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist.