Gladding’s rival Couch appeals over GB selection

Monique Gladding’s Olympic dream is officially on hold after Tonia Couch yesterday lodged an appeal against her place in Great Britain’s diving team.

Sheffield diver Gladding, 30, was selected for her first Olympics in the women’s platform on Monday just 16 months after she almost died after fracturing her skull at a meet in Russia.

A British Diving selection panel made the emotional call despite Couch beating Gladding at the weekend’s British Gas Diving Championships in Sheffield, which were effectively an Olympic trial.

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Couch, who reached the 2008 Olympic final, finished second at Ponds Forge behind Stacie Powell – who was also named in the squad – while Gladding was third as all three recorded personal best scores.

But with Couch set to challenge for an Olympic medal alongside Sarah Barrow in the platform synchro in London, the selection team, headed by performance director Alexei Evangulov, opted for Gladding.

Couch was left in tears at Ponds Forge on Sunday night after she was informed of the decision, which has caused outrage in her home city of Plymouth where council leader Tudor Evans described her omission as a “slap in the face” for the city.

Coach Andy Banks had also revealed his frustration on Monday, hinting he would appeal, telling BBC Sport: “I feel, quite strongly, that she (Couch) has demonstrated over the course of this year that she is still the UK’s premier platform diver – she has been since 2008 when she made the Olympic final.”

British Diving confirmed the complaint had been filed yesterday morning, with all 12 members of the diving Olympic team, including Gladding and Couch, having already flown out to Majorca for a two-week training camp. The complaint is now set to be heard by a Fast Track Appeal process with a decision set to be made before the weekend.

Should Gladding lose her place it would almost certainly spell the end of her career, which had certainly looked over when she suffered her terrible injury in February last year.