Contrite Hooper ready to move forward

2 years ago, 31 July 2012 (AEST)

BOXING: Australian boxer Damien Hooper has assured Chef de Mission Nick Green that he will not wear a t-shirt bearing the Aboriginal flag again during his Olympic competition.

Hooper wore the t-shirt as motivation before his winning bout against Marcus Browne on Day 3 of the Games.

This contravened International Olympic Committee rules, but quick action by the Australian Olympic Committee has averted any possible sanction against the 20-year-old light heavyweight from Canberra.

Green told a media conference that Hooper had looked him in the eye and said he would not wear the t-shirt again.

“Damien is a terrific kid and we know he has a proud indigenous heritage,” Green said.

“Yesterday, he’s indicated to me, as extra motivation because he was fighting a very strong opponent , he wore an indigenous t-shirt on to the field of play.

“He was unaware that was a breach of rule 50 under the IOC guidelines.

“I’ve had a talk to Damien this morning, and he was extremely apologetic. He has confirmed with me that it was a ‘one-off’ and that he won’t do it again.

“He was very remorseful for what he has done, and has learned his lesson, and in this instance the IOC will not be taking it any further.”

When pressed further whether Hooped had been warned by Australian officials about wearing the t-shirt, Green said he was not aware of those circumstances.

But he stressed: “Damien looked me in the eye this morning and said he will not do it again.”

Green said Hooper was well aware of the innocent mistake he had made.

“As I said to other athletes earlier in the week, this is an important part of his sporting career right know.

“Athletes don’t need any external distractions while they’re fine tuning their preparation. I said to Damien he needs to get those distractions out of the way and just focus on his competition.”

Hooper is scheduled to fight Russia’s Egor Mekhontcev in the round of 16 on Day 8 of competition (Saturday, August 4).

Michael Stevens in London