Britain's medal hopes in synchronisation

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The Independent Online

Britain are pinning their hopes of European Championship gold on the synchronised swimming section when the event begins in Vienna today. Two years ago in Sheffield, Britain landed two bronzes with Kerry Shacklock winning both medals in the solo and duet sections.

After Shacklock's retirement earlier this year, Britain's hopes rest with Laila Vekil, who partnered her in the duet in 1993. The 21-year-old concentrates on the solo while the duet role is taken by Collette Geier and Karen Thompson.

Tony Ali, the 1990 and 1991 European junior bronze medallist, and 1992 Olympic finalist Haley Allen will represent Britain in the diving section, but the absence of Robert Morgan is a major blow to medal hopes.

The women's water polo team are facing a tough task after being drawn in the same group as Hungary, who won the bronze in Sheffield, and Czechoslovakia.

The International Federation said yesterday it would let banned Petteri Lehtinen compete in the the 200 and 400 metres individual medley in Vienna if an independent arbitration tribunal upheld an appeal by the Finn. Lehtinen was suspended for two years in June for failing an out- of-competition dope test in March.

n The main press stand in Vienna has had to be rebuilt because up to three lanes of the Stadionbad pool could not be seen by journalists. The cost of the work is estimated at pounds 45,000.