Top level competitive diving to return to Plymouth’s Life Centre

TOP level diving will return to Plymouth’s Life Centre at the end of next month as the venue has been selected to host the 2021 British Elite Junior Championships.

The diving pool at the Life Centre only re-opened this month for the first time in 18 months after extensive repairs and improvements.

It will now host the country’s top young divers who will be aiming to secure selection for the delayed World Junior Championships in Kazan, which are taking place in December.

The British Elite Junior Championships will be held between October 27-30 and will be the first national diving event for nearly two years. However, spectators will not be allowed due to Covid-19.

British Diving talent and development manager Julian Bellan said: “It has been a long wait for the return of elite diving competition here in the UK, and we are looking forward to seeing this exciting crop of young divers back in action.

“In light of the ongoing Covid-19 situation, the decision has been made for the event to take place behind closed doors. We still have an important role in protecting our athletes, officials and volunteers, to ensure their welfare and also to help maintain the sport’s recovery.”

He added: “We are truly grateful to our partners in this event – Plymouth City Council, Everyone Active and all others who have pulled together in the days following the re-opening of the Plymouth Life Centre to make the event possible – and we cannot wait to see competitive diving back at this venue.

“The 2021 British Elite Junior Diving Championships is the trial event for the 2020 World Championships, taking place in Kiev, Ukraine from December 2-9. British Diving is working towards taking the strongest, healthiest and most robust team to Kiev, and to this end, holding the Elite Juniors behind closed doors is the correct decision.

“We will be looking to take up 16 divers to Kiev at the end of the year. Several athletes are pre-selected as Olympians or European Junior medallists from earlier this year, and the remaining spots will be strongly contested across the individual and synchronised events.”

Plymouth divers have really struggled since the Life Centre diving pool closed in March 2020, first due to the national lockdown and then because it was found that urgent repairs needed to be made to the facility. Divers have had to either relocate to other centres in the country or face 500-mile trips on a weekend to train.

But the diving pool finally reopened a couple of weeks ago.

Councillor Mark Deacon, cabinet member for customer services, culture, leisure and sport said: “Diving is so important to Plymouth, it’s a huge part of our city pride. Seeing a generation of Plymouth divers go from success to success has been a wonderful thing for us all.

“I want to thank the diving communities and all other pool user for their patience, we understand that this disruption has been hard. The revamped facility will ensure current and future divers excellent opportunities.”

Plymouth’s Euan McCabe is one of seven divers already pre-selected for December’s World Junior Championships.

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