Sheffield’s Monique Gladding gets the verdict as Games spot is secured

Monique gets the verdict as Games spot is secured
Monique gets the verdict as Games spot is secured
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MONIQUE Gladding can finally celebrate her Olympic Games place after an appeal by fellow Great Britain diver Tonia Couch was turned down by an independent panel.

Gladding, aged 31, who lives in Sheffield, had originally been named in the Team GB squad for next month’s Olympic Games in London after the British trials at her training base Ponds Forge earlier this month.

However, Couch, who had actually beaten Gladding in the 10 metre individual platform competition, was angered by the decision of GB diving performance director Alexei Evangulov to select her rival ahead of her.

She appealed to British Swimming, who run the diving programme, and the matter was referred to an independent panel.

It is thought that the panel agreed with Evangulov that Couch should concentrate on her 10m synchro-pairing with Sarah Barrow - in May the duo won the first female British gold medal at a European Diving Championships for 74 years.

Gladding missed Wednesday’s send off of Sheffield-based Olympic athletes at the Peace Gardens in the city centre because she didn’t want to pre-judge the outcome of the appeal. She posted on Twitter that the process has been a “roller coaster ride”, but she can now concentrate on joining fellow Sheffield diver Nick Robinson-Baker in preparing for the Games.

Meanwhile, former Sheffield Wednesday Academy ace Mukhtar Mohammed’s Olympic dream seems to be over after failing to dip under the Olympic A Standard time at the European Athletic Championships in Helsinki.

The 21-year-old headed to Finland with the sole purpose of shaving just under half-a-second off his 800m season’s best of 1:46.17 minutes to earn a spot at London 2012 after finishing the weekend’s Olympic trials in second.

But it was not to be as Mohammed crashed out at the semi-final stage yesterday as he crossed the line third in 1:48.84 minutes, the top two progressing to the final. “I did not run well,” he said. “At the start I was alright but when I pushed I had nothing left, the lactic caught me and I was just passed to finish third.”

And Sheffield’s Hatti Archer paid the price for coming in underprepared as she failed to make the finals of the 3000m steeplechase in Helsinki.

Archer has had a season beset by injury problems with a calf tear in late March followed by a hip problem that has kept her off the track for the majority of the season.

But despite the rustiness Archer came to Finland knowing that if she could run the Olympic ‘A’ standard time of 9:43.00 minutes she would automatically make the team for London 2012.

The 30-year-old struggled early in her semi-final, falling too far behind the pack rendering her strong finish somewhat irrelevant as she came home in 9:57.00 minutes.