SHEFFIELD-BASED diver Monique Gladding faces a nervous wait this morning to find out whether she has done enough to secure a spot on the British team for next month’s Olympic Games in London.
The 30-year-old, who cheated death last year after hitting her head on the 10 metre platform at a meet in Russia, finished third at the British Gas Diving Championships at Ponds Forge, Sheffield, on Saturday.
Despite a personal best score of 359.30 she saw Stacie Powell snatch away the gold medal and one of two team places in 10m event. Team GB bosses will now decide between Gladding and silver medallist Tonia Crouch before making their announcement today.
Gladding would be the emotional choice and she admitted she had since almost given up on her dream of a first Olympics before a stunning recovery.
“It will be a third time I’ve gone for it and to be in London after the year I’ve had would be amazing,” she said. “I’ve had to dig deeper than ever over the past year. Hopefully it will come together for me.
“There was a definite period where I started doubting it.
“Hopefully I’m good enough to be on the team. I’ve given everything I’ve got. I can’t give any more.”
Gladding may have been the local favourite at Ponds Forge this weekend but there was no doubt that Tom Daley was the headline act as he won the men’s 10m platform yesterday.
VIDEO: Press the play button to watch our video chat with British divers Tom Daley and Pete Waterfield at the British Gas Diving Championships in Sheffield.
While 18-year-old Daley was unable to break his personal best of 565.05, which he set when reclaiming the European title last month, he did more than enough to ensure he was already decked out in a Team GB tracksuit before leaving Ponds Forge.
The venue had set an emotional stage for Daley as it was the pool his father Robert last saw him compete before his death following a long battle with brain cancer last May.
Robert Daley had been a permanent fixture alongside his son at all his competitions and had pledged to see his son compete in London this summer.
“It’s great to know that I have qualified and he will be proud of what I have done,” Daley said.
“It feels great to actually win here in front of my mum and my brothers, obviously it is sad that my dad is not here.
“It’s just such a great feeling to know you are going to the Olympic Games because it is what every athlete wants.”
Daley will head to London in career-best form despite stinging criticism at the World Cup at the beginning of the year.
British Diving performance director Alexei Evangulov claimed the former world champion was letting his media commitments undermine his Olympic dream before likening him to Russian tennis player Anna Kournikova.
Daley has let his diving do the talking since, responding emphatically by becoming overall World Series champion and reclaiming the European title he first won as a 13-year-old.
“I’m diving at the moment the best I have throughout my career,” he said.
“I’m loving my diving at the moment.
“Knowing that I’m diving well going to an Olympic Games is a really nice feeling. I just have to maintain it.
“I’m going into each competition knowing I can perform and score a 10. It’s just about doing it on the day.”
Daley twice attracted scores of 10 tonight and only a slight mistake on his penultimate back three-and-half somersaults prevented him from eclipsing his best for the third successive meet.
“That’s the dive I want to really work on before the Olympics,” he said.
“I can either get a really big score from it or like this evening it can cost me.
“There’s lots of hard work to do before the Olympics Games.”
The full British diving team for the Olympics will be confirmed later with only a few positions up in the air.
The women’s 3m springboard is one of those after winner Rebecca Gallantree failed to make the qualifying mark in an unusually poor preliminary round.
The Leeds diver responded though with a British record and personal best 326.05 to wrap up her fourth domestic title. Gallantree must now await tomorrow’s announcement, with teenage duo Hannah Starling and Alicia Blagg also in contention.
“I was really pleased to get a good run out (yesterday afternoon),” she said.
“I didn’t make the score so it will be up to Alexei now to see who is in. Fingers crossed.”
Sheffield’s Nick Robinson-Baker is expected to be confirmed as one half of the men’s 3m synchro team after he and partner Chris Mears won the title on Friday.