Diver Tonia Couch given leave to appeal her non-selection

Tonia Couch

Tonia Couch has been granted leave to appeal against her non-selection for Team GB in the individual 10-metre platform event at this summer's Games.

Couch, 23, was picked alongside Sarah Barrow in the platform synchro but left out of the individual event in favour of Monique Gladding.

That prompted Couch's coach Andy Banks to launch an appeal.

British Swimming has now confirmed her case will be heard by an independent panel.

The governing body said in a statement: "British Swimming can confirm an appeal by Tonia Couch for non-selection in the 10m individual platform event at the London 2012 Olympic Games has been granted leave to appeal.

"A hearing by an independent panel will be held in due course," it added.

Banks thinks the original decision to omit Plymouth-based Couch in favour of Gladding was unfair.

Gladding, 30, would go to her first Olympics if selected.

Team GB says it wants Couch, who won gold at the European Championships, to concentrate solely on the synchro.

Stacie Powell, who won the recent British trials, and Gladding, whose appearance in the semi-finals at the test event for the London Games in February earned an extra place for Britain at the Olympics, are set to dive in the individual event.

Banks last week told BBC Radio Devon: "If I'm honest I don't expect it to make a difference because the appeal procedure will look at the selection policy and the selection policy does ultimately say that the performance director can do whatever he wants within that selection process.

"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.

"She's been a world finalist ever since and I think it's a little unfair for her not to be able to demonstrate her ability as the UK's premier diver at the London Olympic Games."

The individual and synchro diving events are a week apart in the diving schedule for the Games.

Banks also thinks Couch's omission was handled poorly by those responsible for selecting the team.

"I know she's absolutely gutted, but upset also that she has not been spoken to, so the communication around this has been very poor from the management down," he said.

"There is an opinion in management that concentrating on the synchronised event would possibly be better for the outcome of a medal.

"I've watched Tonia dive both synchro and individual competitions internationally and domestically.

"At the trials she got a personal best score and a British record in the synchro event and went on to get a personal best score in the individual event, so I disagree with the reasoning behind her non-selection."