31st Jul 2012 12:52pm | By Editor
Australian boxer Damien Hooper has defended his decision to wear a t-shirt with an Aboriginal flag on it for his Olympic boxing match. The International Organising Committee (IOC) has said it will not be taking action against him.
Light-heavyweight Hooper beat Marcus Browne in what was a monumental win since it was the first time America has lost in this sport at the Olympics.
However his victory was overshadowed by the furore caused by his t-shirt, which was emblazoned with an Aboriginal flag. This could potentially cause problems, as IOC rules that forbid athletes from making political statements.
Although the IOC has said it will not take action against Hooper, the boxer was criticised by his own Australian Olympic Committee (AOC).
However, Hooper is unrepentant.
"I'm not saying I don't care [if there are sanctions]. I'm just saying that I'm very proud of what I did," he said.
"I'm Aboriginal, representing my culture, not only my country but all my people as well. That's what I wanted to do and I'm happy I did it."
An IOC statement said: "It is in the first instance for the AOC to deal with their athlete and we fully support their approach."
In an intense final-round, Hooper beat Browne 13-11. The talented Aussie, who is regarded as his country's best chance of a first boxing medal since 1988, faces former world amateur heavyweight champion Egor Mekhontcev of Russia in Saturday's next round.
Hooper has hit the headlines before, after being sent home from the 2010 Commonwealth Games and a recent training camp for bad behaviour.
Here's what people on Twitter are saying about his Aboriginal flag t-shirt:
wendy_harmer tweeted: “Damien Hooper. Aboriginal flag is not a "political statement", it'sour proud heritage and should be included in the uniform, at least!”
However, Bolt Comments wrote: “If Damien Hooper thinks he’s representing the Aboriginal Nation, heshould let the Aboriginal Nation pay to train and send him to London."