Advertisement
Advertisement

Damien Hooper Receives Stern Warning Over Flag Beef

He did it for his people, but officials are warning Australian boxer Damien Hooper not to repeat his entry to the Olympic ring with the Aboriginal flag proudly emblazoned across his chest.

Hooper, an Indigenous Australian from northern Queensland, marked his Games debut by wearing a black T-shirt bearing the Aboriginal flag as he arrived for his impressive opening fight win against American Marcus Browne.

It went against Australian team rules, which state athletes must only wear the official team uniform.

But it's the fear of further sanctions from the International Olympic Committee, which frowns upon political statements, that prompted Australian Olympic team officials to halt the practice ahead of his second round fight against Russian Egor Mekhontcev.

"We will talk to Damien and counsel him against doing it again," Australian team media director Mike Tancred said.

"He intends to apologise to (Australian team chef de mission) Nick Green for his actions but there is the potential for the IOC to look at this incident as a possible breach of the Olympic Charter and they could take action."

IOC spokeswoman Emmanuelle Moreau said the IOC had been informed of the incident by the Australians.

"The AOC is handling the matter and is in touch with the athlete," she said. "At the moment it is in their hands. We'll leave it with them for the moment."

After beating Browne with a brutal third round onslaught, Hooper seemed unperturbed by the potential trouble his sartorial gesture could bring.

"What do you reckon? I'm Aboriginal, I'm representing my culture, not only my country but all my people as well," said Hooper of his motive for wearing the T-shirt.

"That's what I wanted to do and I'm happy I did it.

"I was just thinking about my family and that's what really matters to me.

"Look what it just did - it just made my whole performance a lot better with that whole support behind me.

"I'm not saying that at all that I don't care (about a possible sanction), I'm just saying that I'm very proud of what I did."

His action had echoes of the Cathy Freeman-Arthur Tunstall controversy 18 years earlier.

Freeman marked her coming of age as an athlete in 1994 by celebrating her 200m Commonwealth Games gold with a victory lap in which she carried both the Australian and Aboriginal flags.

Despite strong criticism from Australian team chef de mission Tunstall, Freeman repeated the act after winning the 400m - and again following her memorable gold at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

The IOC charter prevents political statements at the Games, but Hooper - considered Australia's best chance of a boxing medal since Graham `Spike' Cheney won silver in 1988 - has never been one for officialdom.

He was sent home early from the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games for misbehaviour, while his Olympic build-up was hampered when he was sent packing from a team camp following a run-in with coach Don Abnett.

What was clear after Monday's performance against Browne is that Hooper has the tools to possibly end Australian boxing's gold medal drought.

He was surprisingly conservative early - and trailed 6-5 after two rounds - before exploding with a flurry of punches in the last, including one to the chin of Browne which resulted in a standing eight count.

"I could see it in his eyes and his body language that he didn't want to be there," Hooper said. "I was down a point, so I was a bit desperate."

Tags: Amateur Boxing image  
User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by fatmash on 07-31-2012

Indigenous Australian my arse hes more euro trash than i am !

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (1)
Top Headlines Joseph Parker vs. Alexander Dimitrenko Finalized For October 1 NYSAC Under Fire After State Investigation Into Magomed Claims Photos: Chocolatito, Cuadras Go Face To Face in California AIBA To Review Testing Records of All Russian Olympic Boxers Bellew To Return On October 15; Smiths To Feature, Price Too? Jessie Vargas Looking For The Biggest Opportunity Possible Mikey Garcia Willing To Travel To UK To Fight Flanagan Next Denton Daley Goes For Commonwealth Belt on September 9 Moises Flores: I Have All The Tools To Defeat Rigondeaux! Loeffler Confirms: Golovkin Would Have Fought Degale at 168 AIBA Denies Allegations of Trying To Take Over Boxing Ruslan Chagaev Vanishes, Stripped of The WBA World Title Vyacheslav Shabranskyy-Oscar Riojas on LA Fight Club, 8/19 Andre Ward vs. Alexander Brand Lands on BoxNation Whyte: No KO, I Want To Punish Allen and Hurt Him Real Bad! Oscar Valdez To Make First Defense in Tucson in November? Andrade Tabs Andre Ward To Expose Kovalev's Flaws, Win Big Golovkin's Coach: DeGale at 168 Was Fine, Hearn Offered Brook Terence Crawford-Viktor Postol: Post-Fight Report Card Guy Robb on Marriaga WBO Eliminator, Picks Ward Over Kovalev AIBA Planning Additional Changes For Olympic Boxers Golovkin's Coach: Only Floyd Mayweather Can Really Test GGG Anthony Upton Drills Luke Paddock For English Title Abel Sanchez: No Pacquiao, I Want Crawford vs. Danny Garcia! Alan Castano: My Goal Was To Win, Not Outdo My Brother “Fighting Words” - When Good Fighters Meet Great Ones Canelo's Trainer Wants Him To Knock Liam Smith Out Vide: Jose Ramirez on Crawford's Performance, Ring Return WBC Prez Feels Crawford Could Be Another Floyd Mayweather Video: Oscar Valdez on His Big World Title Win Video: Lenny Zappavigna on His Knockout Win of Ik Yang Video: Jessie Vargas Talks Crawford, Benavidez, More Donaire Prepares For Mandatory Defense With Magdaleno Valdez Has No Problem With REVENGE Fight With Lomachenko Video: Gilberto Ramirez Talks Crawford vs. Postol, More Crawford: Postol Did NOT Want To Fight or Exchange, He Ran Video: Viktor Postol Explains His Defeat To Terence Crawford Ryota Murata Wants Billy Joe Saunders Title Shot Delvin Rodriguez Gets Close Decision Over Shawn Cameron Tim Bradley on Amir Khan's MMA Move - "He's a Clown!"
Advertisement

Latest Active Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement