OLYMPICS: Rotherham’s Fran Leighton hopes water polo doesn’t sink

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FRAN Leighton believes she proved at London 2012 that she can guide Britain’s women’s water polo team to an Olympic medal at Rio 2016 – provided the sport survives a post-Games funding cut.

Skipper Leighton, from Rotherham, was unable to lead her team to a single victory in the capital as they finished eighth however the British outfit more than showed they can fight with the world’s best.

Yesterday’s final London 2012 encounter with Italy, an 11-7 defeat after leading 3-2 increased her resolve and she insists the British team should be given the chance to continue their upward curve all the way to Rio 2016. “I think from the team perspective if you are thinking back to when we won the bid to where we are now, it’s amazing,” she said. “It’s a reality now that we have come here and been competitive and teams have had a real fight to beat us and see us off.

“We are obviously gutted that we didn’t have a win in the end but we have definitely given a credible performance. We are a young squad and we have improved so much already, and with a good amount of funding and with everyone training full-time and being professional it could mean medals.

“I am hoping that what we have done here as a team has shown that we should be one of the team sports that gets funding,” she added.

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