Olympic shooting gold medalist Russell Mark says the Australian Olympic Committee's decision to ban athletes from using strong sleeping pills in the lead up to the London Games will cost medals.
AOC president John Coates said Tuesday that Australian athletes will be banned from using insomnia treatments in London, after champion swimmer Grant Hackett revealed he became dependent on sleeping pills during his career.
Mark said in a radio interview Wednesday "if this (ban) happens, it will affect the amount of medals the team wins."
He said he had used sleeping pills for 20 years to ensure he overcame jetlag in the lead up to competitions.
"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," he said. "If I don't get a good night's sleep it's not worth me going."
Mark won a gold medal in double trap-shooting at the 1996 Atlanta Games and will compete in the same event at London.
Coates has said he had no choice but to act after Hackett's revelation he had become addicted to the sleeping treatment Stilnox.
"I have to acknowledge this only really came to my attention when I read Grant Hackett's revelations," Coates said. "We have decided that we would amend our team medical manual to make it absolutely unequivocal that we do not condone and indeed prohibit the use of Stilnox by our athletes...and other related drugs."
Coates said the prescribed sleeping drug Temazepan would be provided to athletes in extreme circumstances.
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