Monday, 11 June 2012

City of Leeds diving quintet clinch places at London 2012 Olympics


Caption: City of Leeds stars (left to right) Alicia Blagg, Rebecca Gallantree and Hannah Starling will all be competing at the London 2012 Olympic Games

Leeds will have five divers representing Great Britain at the London 2012 Olympic Games this summer after the team was confirmed today.

City of Leeds stars Rebecca Gallantree, Sarah Barrow, Jack Laugher, Hannah Starling and Alicia Blagg will all be competing in the world’s biggest sporting event after securing their places in the Team GB squad named following the British Gas Diving Championships which took place in Sheffield over the weekend.

Such is the success of the City of Leeds squad, which is based at the Aquatics Centre at the John Charles Centre for Sport as part of Leeds City Council’s Diving Training Scheme, that the club accounts for five of the 12-strong Team GB Olympic squad.

The strength of City of Leeds is also likely to be seen in the Team GB Olympic coaching staff, with both Leeds senior diving coach Adrian Hinchliffe and diving age group coach Edwin Jongejans expected to be part of the coaching team.

City of Leeds continued their domestic dominance with another stunning performance in Sheffield, securing both the men’s and women’s overall titles. Rebecca Gallantree clinched a place at her second consecutive Olympic Games and will compete in both the women’s 3-metre individual and the 3m synchronised events after victories in both elements at the weekend.

The 27-year-old led a clean sweep of the podium places by City of Leeds in the individual event, heading up clubmates Alicia Blagg and Hannah Starling in a final which saw all three go over the 300 points mark – a feat never previously achieved at national level.

Rebecca then teamed up with 15-year-old clubmate Alicia Blagg from Woodlesford to win the 3m synchro event with their second-highest score of the year to seal their place in the same element in London, where Alicia will be the youngest member of the Team GB squad.

Fresh from becoming European champions in Eindhoven last month, 23-year-old City of Leeds star Sarah Barrow and 10-metre synchonised platform partner Tonia Couch set a new British record on their way to victory in Sheffield and the duo go into the Olympics as a genuine medal hope after an exceptional year.

Harrogate’s Jack Laugher also goes into the Olympic Games in top form, with the 17-year-old breaking his own British record on the way to winning the men’s 3m individual event to seal his place in London.

Jack will be joined in the Team GB squad by Hannah Starling from Alwoodley, with the 16-year-old securing a spot in the women’s 3m individual event by taking third behind Rebecca and Alicia in Sheffield.

Hannah and Alicia will therefore become the first homegrown Leeds divers ever to compete at an Olympic Games, while the pair together with Jack make up the three youngest members of the squad.

Aside from the Olympic qualifiers, other strong City of Leeds performances at the British Gas Diving Championships came from Oliver Dingley (second in the men’s 3m individual), James Denny (third in men’s 10m individual), Josh Dowd and Charles Calvert (third in men’s 3m synchro) and Jenny Cowen (personal best in women’s 10m individual).

Leeds City Council executive member for leisure Councillor Adam Ogilvie said:

“This is terrific news for Leeds, to have five athletes chosen to represent Team GB at the London 2012 Olympic Games in a single sport is a fantastic achievement so major congratulations to all the divers and the coaching staff at the Aquatics Centre.

“Our divers and diving training programme are a real success story for the city, so we look forward to watching our Olympians perform in London and willing them to glory.”

Notes to editors:

Leeds City Council’s Leeds 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.

ENDS

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Leeds City Council,
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Email: roger.boyde@leeds.gov.uk