City of Leeds divers ready to challenge the world

The City of Leeds Diving Club will have no less than eight representatives at the FINA World Aquatics Championships in Barcelona later this month.

Five of the club’s senior divers and three coaches will be heading to Spain to take on the world’s best at the championships which take place from July 19 - 4 August.

City of Leeds divers make up four of the 10-strong Team GB squad, with London 2012 Olympians Alicia Blagg, Rebecca Gallantree, Jack Laugher and Hannah Starling all selected while coaches Ady Hinchliffe and former world champion Edwin Jongejans will reprise their roles from the Olympic Games.

History will be made as City of Leeds’ Yona Knight-Wisdom becomes the first-ever diver to represent Jamaica at senior world championship level, supported by coach Adam Smallwood.

Rebecca and Alicia will be teaming up in the women’s 3-metre synchronised event, aiming to carry on the form which saw them claim a historic first medal for Britain with bronze in the European Championships in Rostock in Germany last month.

Alicia will also be competing in the women’s individual 1m and 3m events alongside clubmate Hannah Starling, whose own European Championship preparations were hindered by the distraction of sitting her A-level exams.

In a similar position was Jack Laugher, who opted to miss the event in Rostock altogether to concentrate on his exams. He will be eager to return to action in both the men’s 1m and 3m individual events in Barcelona, where among his rivals will be fellow City of Leeds diver Yona representing Jamaica.

Alicia Blagg tuned up for Spain with a dominant performance at the Junior European Championships in Poznan in Poland last week, winning both the 1m and 3m individual events with the second-highest score ever achieved in the event and in the process becoming the first British female springboard gold medallist in the history of the championships.

City of Leeds divers ended up with an impressive haul of six medals in Poznan, with Matty Lee becoming the first British diver to ever successfully defend a European title in his age group as he claimed gold, silver and bronze medals.

Lydia Rosenthall continued her own impressive development by taking home silver in the girl’s 3m event for 14-15 year olds, while 13-year-old Lois Toulson also performed well to make the finals of both the 3m and platform events in her first appearance at European level.

All of the City of Leeds divers train at the Aquatics Centre at the John Charles Centre for Sport in Leeds as part of Leeds City Council’s diving training scheme.

Leeds City Council executive member for leisure and skills Councillor Lucinda Yeadon said:

“It is a real measure of the quality of the programme in Leeds and the City of Leeds club that eight divers and coaches can rightly be classed among the best in the world. That is something the city should be very proud of, and we wish them all the very best of luck as they head to Spain to take on the world.”

Notes to editors:

Leeds City Council’s diving training scheme is managed by Adrian Hinchliffe and has been running since 1986. The scheme provides opportunities in the sport of diving for all ages and from recreational to elite level. In total there are over 300 people taking part in the scheme on a daily and weekly basis, making it one of the biggest diving programmes in Britain.

For further information about the scheme contact Adrian Hinchliffe at Adrian.hinchliffe@leeds.gov.uk, Edwin Jongejans at Edwin.jongejans@leeds.gov.uk or call 0113 395 7363.

Leeds-born Team GB divers Alicia Blagg and Hannah Starling are official ambassadors for child friendly Leeds, the ambition to make Leeds the best city for children and young people to thrive and look forward to a brighter future. For more information go to www.leeds.gov.uk/childfriendlyleeds


For media enquiries please contact:

Roger Boyde,

Leeds City Council press office,

Tel 0113 247 5472

Email: roger.boyde@leeds.gov.uk