Boxing Australia unfazed by troubled build-up
Bianca Elmir is one of several boxers to have created headaches for Boxing Australia in the lead-up to London. Photo: Jay Cronan
Boxing Australia is confident a series of controversial incidents will not derail its bid to win medals at the London Olympic Games, despite its best hope being exiled from the team camp.
Damien Hooper was sent away from the team's Canberra base on Tuesday after failing to meet the standards set by the organisation five weeks out from the start of the Games.
It's the latest out-of-ring problem for the sport after Canberra's Bianca Elmir had her Olympic dream shattered after testing positive to a banned diuretic and teenage sensation Jai Opetaia fell out with management.
But Boxing Australia chairman Ted Tanner insisted the incidents had not been a distraction.
''It's very much an individuals effort in boxing, but because of resourcing we train them all in a team environment,'' Tanner said.
''There are inherit conflicts which develop because of that.
''Damien was getting jaded with his training and it was best if he had a break before returning refreshed.
''They live a spartan existence, at times they need to slacken off and in this case Damien was falling behind what was expected and it was best for him to go.''
Heavyweight Opetaia will rejoin the squad on Sunday after training in the United States with his father.
Tanner said the 16-year-old would be ''a household name in years to come''.
Hooper will still be allowed to compete at the Olympics despite his recent troubles.
He is regarded as Australia's best chance of a gold medal in boxing since Grahame 'Spike' Cheney fought the deciding bout before claiming silver at the 1988 Olympics.
Hooper is rated the No. 3 amateur in his division.
He had also been sent home early from the 2010 Commonwealth Games after an alleged indiscretion in front of an official.
The Australian boxing program has recently moved from its base in Dickson back to the Australian Institute of Sport.
However, the program is still run by Boxing Australia.
''When Damien pulls his socks up, the guys will have no problem with him coming back in,'' Tanner said.