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English cyclist unable to race at Commonwealth Games due to admin error

A paperwork blunder left Team England bosses red faced and cyclist Melissa Lowther "gutted" after it meant she was denied the chance to race at the Commonwealth Games.

Lowther had built her season's training with the women's individual time trial in mind, skipping other competitions to focus on the Gold Coast. Yet after a 10,000 mile, 24-hour trip to Australia she was told on the eve of the event that she would be unable to compete after a Team England official failed to tick a box on the entry system.

A last-ditch appeal to Commonwealth Games organisers was rejected.

Team England chef de mission Sarah Winckless has apologised personally to Lowther and said a review would take place into how the mistake was allowed to slip through despite there being "probably seven or eight steps where the error could have been seen".

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"No athlete should suffer because of an administrative error by my group," said Winckless.

"As soon as we knew of the error we did everything to rectify it and it went to the Commonwealth Games Federation reallocation committee and unfortunately they were not minded to add her into the draw.

"What went wrong is we failed to tick a box a few days ago on an allocation to add to an event. We found that out at the technical meeting. I told her team leader Keith Reynolds and it was their choice to tell Melissa last night.

"I've spoken to Melissa and she was very reasonable, she was very disappointed not to be able to compete as we are on her behalf. I think more than embarrassing, it's hugely disappointing and she has my sympathies and sincere apologies."

Lowther will no avert her attentions to Saturday's road race which had been her secondary focus.

"I can't put into words how disappointed I am to have been missed off the start list due to an admin error," she said.

"It was one of my targets this season to make selection for the Time Trial event and I was so proud that my hard work in training had paid off. While Team England have apologised, I'm still gutted not to have the opportunity to represent my country after all the hard miles I've put in.

"My plan is now to try and put this out of my mind while I focus on preparing for the road race."

The women's time trial was won by Australia's Katrin Garfoot while Lowther's England teammate Hayley Simmonds took bronze.

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