Shooters set sights on London gold

last year, 7 June 2012 (AEST)

Michael Diamond and Russell Mark will headline the Australian shooting team at London’s Royal Artillery Barracks this July after the team of 17 athletes was announced today.

With three gold medals between them and what will be an astounding sixth Olympic Games each in London, there is no doubt that veterans Diamond and Mark will be looking to lead Australia to success on the range in London.

The pair will equal the record for the most Olympic Games by an Australian athlete as they line up alongside Athens gold medallist Suzy Balogh, Australia’s sole shooting medallist in Beijing, Warren Potent, and Athens bronze medallist Adam Vella.

“It is a huge honour to be selected to compete at my sixth Olympics,” said Diamond.

“Thinking back to when I was a child and it was all a dream I never thought I would represent my country six times. It is really a testament to my parents for all their help over the years.”

With six of the 12 Olympic medals won by Australians belonging to members of the London 2012 squad, the team will be the most accomplished ever sent to an Olympic Games.

“On any given day this team is as strong as any other around the world. If we are in the right frame of mind we can move mountains,” Diamond said.

“Personally I have started ramping up my preparation and will be ready to peak in two months time when I need to be at my best. I am quietly confident in myself.”

Having recently taken part with many of the team at the test event in London, Diamond is extremely happy with the venue where he will be aiming to add a third gold medal to his long list of achievements.

“The targets look like the size of footballs on the backdrop and no matter what the weather will be the visibility will be great. I think it will be a very high scoring range.”

The team also features David and Hayley Chapman who will become the first father-daughter combination to compete in any sport at an Olympic Games for Australia.

“The feeling of simply making the Olympic Team is overwhelming enough, but to have qualified with my dad, that really is a dream come true,” 20-year-old Hayley said.  

“There's no better picture in my mind then representing Australia alongside the man I look up to most, I cannot describe in words the amount of excitement.”

Heading to World Cup events in Milan and Munich, Chapman needed some strong results to put herself in with a chance to be named alongside her father to take on the world in London.

“Leaving Australia I actually didn't think I was going to the Olympics at all, so the World Cups were all about proving to myself, and my coach, that what I'd been focusing on in training was correct.

“I'm happy to an extent with my performance, cementing my technique, but obviously there is still room for improvement.”

The team will now continue to compete around the world to get in some last minute competition practice before arriving in London.

The shooters kick off proceedings on the morning of Day 1 (July 28) at the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich.

Matt Bartolo
Australian Olympic Committee