Oz shooter Russell Mark says Olympics 'sleeping pill' ban will hit 'medal prospects'


Sydney, July 4 (ANI): Olympic gold-winner shooter Russell Mark has slammed the ban on the use of sleeping pills by Australian athletes at the London Olympic Games, saying it will have an impact on the number of medals the team takes home. Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) chief John Coates had earlier announced that the insomnia treatments would be banned after former swimmer Grant Hackett admitted that he had become reliant on the drugs during his career. "If this [ban] happens it will affect the amount of medals the team wins," The Age quoted Mark, as saying. The Olympic champion said he was not addicted to sleeping pills but had used them over 20 years to aid him in competition. "If John Coates tells me I can only use my sleeping pills for three nights while I'm in London, it will have an effect on my performance," Mark said. "I'm going to fly over to England on the 16th of July, I'm going to land there at 5.30am on the 17th. At 9am on the 18th I'm actually officially training. If I don't get a good night's sleep it's not worth me going. So I need something to get me eight hours sleep," he added. He said the rest of the team should not suffer because of Grant Hackett's dependency on the pills. Mark has won a gold medal in double trap-shooting at the 1996 Atlanta Games and a silver medal in Sydney four years later. (ANI)