Romero blow for Team GB 2012 chances

BRITAIN’S hopes of gold medal success at London 2012 have suffered a double blow after major setbacks in two of Team GB’s strongest suits, cycling and gymnastics.

Rebecca Romero, who won individual pursuit gold in Beijing three years ago, yesterday ruled herself out of next summer’s Games following a series of injuries.

The 31-year-old former rower, the only British woman to win Olympic medals in two different sports, had missed the Manchester World Cup earlier this year.

“Having suffered several setbacks at crucial points, I believe I’m no longer on a pathway which will see me fulfil my Olympic ambition to win a second Olympic gold medal,” said Romero.

“I’m proud to have contributed to the cycling team’s great Olympic triumph in Beijing and I thank all the amazing people within British Cycling who were central to my success. I wish my current team-mates every success in London next year.”

Double world champion Romero would not have been able to defend her title in London anyway as the men’s and women’s individual pursuits were scrapped in a shake-up of Olympic track cycling.

She would have been in contention for the team pursuit and road time trial, however, although national competition is particularly stiff in both events, with Britain holding the world titles.

Her absence was compounded by the shock failure of Britain’s male gymnasts to secure their place at London 2012 at the gymnastics world championships in Tokyo yesterday.

They were expected to comfortably attain the top-eight finish needed for Olympic qualification, as Britain’s women did on Saturday, but ended a hugely disappointing 10th.

Louis Smith made the final of the pommel horse but the team suffered on the high bars. Britain’s next chance to qualify is at the London 2012 test event at the O2 in January.