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Diamond confident of more gold

23 March 2011

Two-time Olympic shooting champion Michael Diamond has decided to scale back his training in the build-up to the London Games - to about one session a month. 

One of only two men in history to win consecutive Olympic trap shooting gold medals, Diamond will compete alongside more than 760 shooters in the world cup starting in Sydney on Wednesday. 

It is a key event, with places at the 2012 London Olympics up for grabs. 

While most professional athletes spend hours each day perfecting their chosen craft, Diamond finds competition is the only true way to improve. 

"I actually did escalate my training back in 2009 to probably shooting three-to-four times a month," Diamond told AAP. 

"But I've actually decreased that since mid-2010 and I've found that the scores have gone through the roof by only training once to maybe twice a month. 

"In our sport timing is everything. The only time to perfect your timing is under extreme conditions such as this world title event. 

"There's nothing I can do in training that's going to make me better, it's all about the competition." 

Diamond's training sessions will usually be in 15-minute bursts for up to an hour, although he is in the gym from Monday to Friday working on his fitness. 

The 38-year-old won gold at the 1996 Atlanta and 2000 Sydney Olympics, before finishing eighth in 2004 and losing a bronze medal playoff in Beijing in 2008. 

Australia need to get two shooters onto the podium this week in order to secure two quota places for London, with 2004 Olympic bronze medallist Adam Vella to compete alongside Diamond. 

Olympic gold medallists Russell Mark (men's double trap) and Suzy Balogh (women's trap) will also compete. 

The World Cup is being held at the Sydney 2000 venue, which evokes plenty of fond memories for Diamond. 

"It's always great to compete there," he said. 

"They've still got all the paintings of the Sydney Olympic symbols up so it always brings back great memories. 

"I probably haven't felt this excited since 2000." Currently ranked No.6 in the men's trap, Diamond is targeting more Olympic gold next year. 

"I'm really looking forward to London, I feel that something good can happen in London," he said. 

"I've performed very well at this level of competition and I just hope it'll all phase into 2012 and I'm sure it will. 

"In our sport it's pretty funny, it's just a matter of timing everything correctly and how you feel on the day. 

"So I'll be training myself to give it my all on that day. 

"I've got a few more grey hairs since 2000, that's about the only thing, but the eyesight and the reflexes are fantastic at the moment." James Dampney 

AAP 

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