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Gold medal shooters set to return
Jordan Chong
11:33 AEST Thu May 31 2012

The Australian shooting team for the London Games is set to have the equal-highest number of individual Olympic gold medallists of any sport in an overall squad numbering almost 400.

Veterans Russell Mark and Michael Diamond will be the headline acts in the double trap and trap, respectively, when the team is named next month.

They will be joined by Suzy Balogh, the gold medallist in the women's trap at the Athens Olympics, who has bounced back after missing selection for the Beijing Games.

And Australia's only medallist from 2008 in Beijing, Warren Potent, will be back in the 50m rifle prone event.

Mark and Diamond will become six-time Australian Summer Olympians in London, joining a select club also including equestrian rider Andrew Hoy, sailor Colin Beashel and rower James Tomkins.

Each have had the honour of carrying the Australian flag at an opening ceremony.

Mark - the gold medallist at the 1996 Atlanta Games - is armed with a new shotgun that he helped design and used to set a new Australian record in the double trap in March.

Diamond - the 1996 and 2000 Games champion - is ranked No.6 in the world after a strong qualifying campaign which included a victory at a World Cup event in the United Arab Emirates.

Adam Vella is expected to claim the second spot alongside Diamond in the trap, which would help erase some of the disappointment from missing out on Beijing four years ago.

Australian Shooting International chief executive Nick Sullivan said the sport's biggest names had all done enough to punch their tickets for London.

"They have all met their criteria to be nominated," Sullivan said.

In Stephanie Rice, Leisel Jones and Libby Trickett, the Australian swimming team is the only other one in the London squad which can boast as many individual Olympic champions as the shooters.

The rowing and sailing teams will also boast at least three Olympic champs, but most of those golds were won in team events.

The Australian shooting squad for the London Games is likely to number about 17 athletes, also including pistol shooters Lalita Yauhleuskaya and Dina Aspandiyarova.

It will also have a sprinkling of youth, with 20-year-old Hayley Chapman (pistol) and 18-year-old Commonwealth Games gold medallist Alethea Sedgman (rifle), both highly rated.

Sullivan said Australia was confident of a better medal haul than in Beijing, where Potent's bronze was the only podium finish.

However, he said competition was going to be tough.

"In this past 12 months, scores that would get you into a final this year were world record scores the year before," Sullivan said.

"The international scene is working very hard and we have to continue to chase them and try and beat them."

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