Gladding impresses at World Cup

20 February 2012 / 18:30

Monique Gladding moved a step closer to booking a dream place at the Olympics after cruising through the preliminary round of the women's platform at the FINA World Cup in London.

Almost a year to the day since she suffered a horrific head injury at a meet in Russia, Gladding finished sixth in a world-class field to ensure Great Britain would take two women platform divers to this summer's Games.

While the 30-year-old must still qualify herself at the British National Championships in June, Monday's performance was remarkable given the past 12 months.

Gladding was left with massive scars, and still suffers headaches, after she hit her head on the 10 metre platform and plummeted unconscious into the pool in Russia, with team-mate Nick Robinson-Baker having to pull her to safety.

It put her hopes of a first Olympics in jeopardy, but her stunning comeback continued on Monday with an impressive score of 320.30 and, with team-mate Stacie Powell who finished 14th, booked her place in Tuesday's semi-final.

But most important was grabbing the top-18 place, in a field of 40, to ensure Britain sewed up both platform positions in London.

Despite a hugely impressive performance Gladding knows she is still some way off confirming her Olympic place just yet though.

Four years ago she qualified Britain's last Olympic place for Beijing only to then fail to confirm her own place, something that drives her on as much as her horror fall.

Gladding's performance highlighted a solid opening day for Britain with springboard synchro pair Robinson-Baker and Chris Mears finishing 10th in Monday night's final.

While China inevitably picked up the first gold on offer, through world champions Qin Kai and Luo Yutong, the Britons had been in medal contention heading into their final dive. But like the preliminary round they failed to land their new and most difficult forward four-and-a-half somersault to slip down the leaderboard.

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