Monique takes a break after head injury

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CITY of Sheffield diver Monique Gladding faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines after suffering a serious head injury at the Fina Grand Prix in Penza Russia.

Competing with partner Megan Sylvester in the 10-metre platform synchronised event, Gladding hit the concrete platform with her head during an inward three-and-a- half somersault dive.

South-African-born Gladding was knocked unconscious, crashed into the water and had to be pulled out of the pool by teammate Nick Robinson-Baker

The 29-year-old, one of the region’s big hopes for 2012 London Olympics, spent three days in hospital with whiplash injuries and a severe cut which required eight stitches.

Gladding, who won European gold with Sylvester in October 2010, underwent a scan but British Swimming said she is “recovering well” from the accident.

In a statement, City of Sheffield Diving Club said: “The precision and grace of divers as they plunge into the water masks the dangers that they face every day during training and competitions.

“A slight error of execution can cause disaster. Monique is nearing the end of her career and desperately wants to compete in London. Events in Penza will make that challenge even harder.”

Gladding is currently recovering from the injury and plans to visit family with her husband and coach Steve in South Africa before returning to Sheffield.

Two years ago, Gladding and Sylvester came sixth at the world championships.

In 2010, the duo finished third overall in the World Series before securing European bronze, a feat not achieved in more than 50 years.

Gladding and Sylvester also recently won the British Gas National Cup.