Gladding: I've got the Games bug

21 February 2012 / 21:41

Monique Gladding admits she had caught the Olympic "bug" by competing in a dream FINA World Cup meeting at the London Aquatics Centre this week.

The 30-year-old is gunning for a first Olympics appearance, and after proving she belongs in world-class company with her 10th place in Tuesday's final is desperate to return later in the year.

"That is just something I will always remember and something to be re-lived in the summer," she said of the support of a 3,000-strong crowd at a venue that is to be expanded to 17,500 for the Olympics. "I'll hold on to that feeling, that crowd behind you is the best. I've got the bug now. I loved it."

While Gladding reached her breakthrough final, most importantly she earned Britain an extra place for the Olympics and boosted her own hopes of completing a remarkable comeback from the horrific injury she suffered almost a year ago to the day.

The City of Sheffield diver had to be saved from a pool at a Russian meeting when she hit her head on the tower and plummeted unconscious into the water during competition.

"It's absolutely amazing. If someone had said to me 12 months ago that I would be 10th at a World Cup I would have snapped their hand off," she said. "But even then I'm leaving here a little bit disappointed because two of my best two dives were not quite right.

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"I suppose that is a great place to be because 10th and a few mistakes in my first World Cup final - I'm going to take the positives from that."

Gladding is not assured an Olympic tracksuit just yet though, with places to be decided at June's British Championships in Sheffield.

Four years ago Gladding secured Britain's place for Beijing only to then fail to seal her own berth. And she will face stiff competition from Tonia Couch, Stacie Powell and Sarah Barrow in arguably British diving's most competitive discipline.

"In our country which is great for British diving, women's platform is so strong," she said. "There's a good few girls in there. That's unfortunate for me, but fortunate for Britain. I'm really fighting hard for this."