An Olympic star has admitted assaulting a man in a bar-room fight. The athlete was granted diversion by the court and his identity is a secret.
It is understood officials in the sport were briefed on the incident but it was unclear last night whether New Zealand Olympic officials had also been made aware of the matter.
Suppression orders prevent the Herald on Sunday from revealing the name of the high-profile sportsman, or his sport, but can confirm he competed at the Beijing Olympics.
The athlete and a fellow international sportsman were jointly charged with assault with intent to injure, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
But the serious charge was later downgraded to common assault for the 2006 incident, shortly after the sportsman competed at an international level for New Zealand.
He was dealt with by the courts last year, following the incident during a night out in a New Zealand city.
Last night the athlete and the victim had conflicting stories as to how the fight started.
The victim told the Herald on Sunday the two athletes approached him and a friend in a bar and asked if the pair were gay.
"We said no and tried to laugh it off. But they kept on persisting and making fun of us.
"Eventually I said to [the Olympian]: 'What about you? You are wearing a pink polo shirt - you must be gay'."
He said the Olympic athlete then punched him in the mouth and he fell back, hitting his head on a railing.
However, the athlete, through a family friend, said that the victim had started the fight by prodding him in the chest and then slapping him in the face. The athlete had asked the victim about an earring he was wearing and this was taken the wrong way. He had considered pleading self-defence.
The victim claimed the other sportsman then punched the victim's friend in the face, breaking his jaw, before kicking the victim in the head while he was on the ground. "I was on the floor. There were lots of cuts and blood everywhere."
The university student said the name suppression "bugs me".
"I wasn't happy. He has excelled, he is a hero, everyone thinks he's a typical Kiwi bloke. But no one knows what he did."
The athlete was granted diversion after admitting the assault charge, avoiding a conviction as a result.
The Olympic athlete has this year been one of dozens of recipients of a sought-after Prime Minister's Scholarship. The taxpayer-funded scheme grants athletes up to $10,000 to put towards university fees and $6000 in living allowances.
Sparc chief executive Peter Miskimmin was not available to answer questions as to whether the assault was disclosed in the application, or if it would have jeopardised his chances of receiving the cash award.
A conviction for assault would have jeopardised his chances of representing New Zealand at international level because of overseas visa regulations in different countries.
His companion - a New Zealand representative who also has name suppression - pleaded guilty and was later convicted and discharged. He paid a $3000 fine to the victim.
Court diversion is a scheme by which police withdraw charges if the defendant admits the offending of a minor nature.
When contacted yesterday, the Olympian at the centre of the incident initially denied any knowledge of the incident.
"I think you have got the wrong guy... I don't know where you got this from," he said. In a later call, he said he had no comment.
It was confirmed yesterday the Olympian informed his sport's governing body about the matter shortly after being charged.
The athlete concerned had explained that an altercation had taken place at a bar, punches were thrown and "someone was hurt", said a person with links to the sporting organisation.