The Australian shooting team has finally been announced for this year’s Olympic Games in London.
The ‘oldies’ of the squad, veteran single and double trap shooters Russell Mark and Michael Diamond, will lead the team to a hopeful victory when they compete at London’s Royal Artillery Barracks in late July through early August.
Together, these men have brought home three gold medals between them in their Olympic careers to date; both will do their best to lead Australia to a victory at this historic and ancient complex in Woolwich. This will be the sixth games for both Mark and Diamond, an astounding effort by any measure.
These two line up in London with Australia’s only shooting medalist in 2008’s Beijing Games, Warren Potent, Athens gold medalist Suzy Balogh and bronze medalist Adam Vella.
“It is a huge honour to be selected to compete at my sixth Olympics,” Diamond told Matt Bartolo of the Australian Olympic Committee. “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.
“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. 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.”
Diamond recently took part in the test event in London, along with many of the team, and 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 lineup also includes partners in crime David and Hayley Chapman, who will become the first father-daughter team to compete in any sport at an Olympic Games for Australia, let alone the same discipline.
“There’s no better picture in my mind then representing Australia alongside the man I look up to most,” said 20-year-old Hayley. “I cannot describe in words the amount of excitement.
“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.”
Having attended multiple World Cup events in Munich and Milan, Chapman needed positive results to receive a chance to be named in the squad — not to mention the opportunity to shoot alongside her father and take on the world in London.
“Leaving Australia, I actually didn’t think I was going to the Olympics at all… 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 whole shooting team is currently participating in shooting tournaments around the world, big and small, which provide crucial practice for the main event.
With luck, hopefully the team can bring home some hardware in multiple events to finish off an tiring, epic but ultimately enjoyable four years of preparation.