Sports Chiefs Hail “Best Ever” Summer For City’s Young Athletes

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Young divers from Leeds are set to make some massive waves at a string of major global sporting events.

Coaches at the City of Leeds Diving Club, which is supported by Leeds City Council, have hailed this summer, when members of the team will represent their country in Scotland, China and Italy, as the club’s most successful ever.


Eight of the team’s young stars will be heading off to compete at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow next month.

Alicia Blagg, 17, Rebecca Gallantree, 19 and Hannah Starling, 19, will join Jack Laugher, 18, Chris Mears, 21, James Denny, 20 and Matty Lee, 15 as part of the 15-strong Team England diving squad taking part in the Games from July 30th until Aug 2nd.

Yona Knight-Wisdom, 18, will also become the first ever diver to compete for Jamaica at the prestigious summer showpiece.

The Commonwealth games will come hot on the heels of the World Diving Cup in Shanghai from July 15th-20th where Alicia, Hannah, Rebecca, Jack, Chris, and Yona will also be competing.

The event is the biggest of the year for national governing body British Diving, where competitors will set their stall out for the Rio Olympic Games in 2016.

The Leeds team’s rising stars will also compete at the Junior European Diving Championships in Bergamo, Italy from July 2nd-6th.

Sam Thornton, 17, Lois Toulson, 15, and Lydia Rosenthall, 15, will be joined by debutant William Hallam, 15 at the event.

July will also see youngsters Anthony Harding, 14 and Emily Bearpark, 12, take part in the Bimbingamba Youth International in Rome.

Adrian Hinchliffe, head coach of the City of Leeds team, which is based at the John Charles Centre for Sport, said:

“The fact that divers from Leeds will make up almost half of the squad that will compete for Team England at the Commonwealth Games is a truly extraordinary accomplishment and one which we’re very proud of.

“Our club is enjoying an unprecedented period of success and we’re really seeing the benefits of years of hard work and dedication.

“This is set to be a very exciting summer and we’re confident we can keep up the exceptional standards we’ve set and see Leeds divers doing their country proud at Rio 2016.”

Leeds’ young divers will be joined at the Commonwealth Games by City of Leeds swimmer Sophie Taylor, 18, and World record-holding power-lifter Ali Jawad, 25, who lives in Bramley.

Both Sophie and Ali were batonbearers when the Queen’s Baton visited Leeds along with Leeds Gymnastics Club’s Nile Wilson, 18, who will also represent his country in Glasgow.

Leeds’ London 2012 medalists Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee will also make the journey up to Scotland as will Olympic boxing gold medallist Nicola Adams.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council’s executive member for digital and creative technologies, culture and skills, said:

“We’re incredibly proud that so many of our local athletes will be representing their country at these global events and there’s a huge buzz in Leeds about what a fantastic summer of sport this is going to be.

“Through a combination of hard work, top class coaching and some outstanding training facilities, Leeds has become one of the leading names in consistently producing genuinely world class sporting talent.”

She added: “With the World Cup and The Tour de France in full swing and The Commonwealth Games fast approaching, this really is a landmark year for sport in our city and the fact so many of our local stars will be playing their part makes it all the more exciting.”


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