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Olympic diving hero Tom Daley to compete at Edinburgh contest

Olympian Tom Daley

Olympian Tom Daley

 

THOUSANDS of screaming fans are expected to descend on the Royal Commonwealth Pool to see Olympic star Tom Daley compete in the Fina Diving World Series next year.

The Evening News can reveal that Edinburgh has been chosen to host the major tournament next April, with the stars of the Olympics among those competing.

Team GB bronze medalist Daley is expected to be among the favourites as the eight best divers in the world thrill fans.

Diving clubs expect the Fina championships – which have steadily grown in popularity due to stars like 18-year-old Daley, from Plymouth – to be a sell-out and television cameras will broadcast the competition.

Sports chiefs expect international interest with crowds also desperate to catch a glimpse of stars like Olympic gold medalist David Boudia, of the United States, and silver medalist Qiu Bo of China.

The Capital will host the third leg of the tournament following on from Beijing and Dubai, with divers heading to Moscow after Edinburgh for the fourth.

Robert Heatly, whose son James, 15, is the Scottish diving champion, said the event had become a huge draw.

He said: “The Fina Diving Series is a huge tournament and a fantastic opportunity to see the top eight in the world.

“You used to mostly get people with a diving interest but it’s become a big sport and a lot of it is down to the Tom Daley factor.

“There’s no doubt Daley will draw in a huge crowd. You’ll have this super role model here in Edinburgh and it will get a lot of interest from the public.”

Since the £37 million refurbishment of the Commonwealth Pool was completed earlier this year, a new programme of watersports has been launched, and the new facilities have allowed divers like James Heatly and Edinburgh diver Grace Reid, who reached the springboard finals at the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games, to progress.

Jane Ogden, Scottish National Diving convener, said: “We’re very excited to have the top divers in the world coming to the Commonwealth Pool.

“Everyone knows the name Tom Daley so we expect a lot of people will want to come along.”

“The budget for the event on 19-21 April will be about £420,000. It will be paid for by UK Sport, EventScotland, British Swimming and Edinburgh City Council.”

Steve Cardownie, the city’s events champion, said: “With the competitors likely to include Tom Daley and local diver and European junior champion, Grace Reid, I’m sure the people of Edinburgh will turn out in their thousands.”

 

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