Badminton: Medal prospect Gowers is left out of Olympic squad: Foreign partners exclude Briton

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The Independent Online
GILLIAN GOWERS, a former World Cup winner in mixed doubles and an All-England finalist in both mixed and women's doubles, is a surprise omission from the British Olympic squad which was announced yesterday, writes James Leigh.

Gowers has been left out because she is competing in the world circuit with foreign partners. The 30-year-old from Hertfordshire could, with the right British partners, be a medal contender in Atlanta in 1996. But the British Olympic manager, Andy Goode, has ruled this out while Gowers continues to partner Michael Sogaard and Lisbet Stuer- Lauridsen, both from Denmark.

'If anybody wants to be part of the Olympic squad they have to be playing with British players,' Goode said. 'She has to decide whether she wants to be part of it or not. It's a shame. She was a part of my plans and still could be.'

Gowers believes she was given too little time in which to make a decision. 'I lost my women's doubles partner at short notice and had to make a quick decision about a replacement,' she said.

'I am a professional player so I had to choose a partner I thought best for winning on the world circuit.'

The partner Gowers lost was Joanne Wright, who now combines with Julie Bradbury, a pair who could make a serious challenge for a medal in Atlanta. Wright, who is Goode's fiancee, partners Nick Ponting in the mixed doubles, in which they are All-England champions and another good British hope for an Olympic medal.

BRITISH OLYMPIC SQUAD: Men: D Hall, P Knowles, A Nielsen, C Hunt, S Archer, N Ponting, J Robertson, N Cottrill, J Quinn. Women: S Louis-Lane, J Muggeridge, K Morgan, J Wright, J Bradbury.