Oliver’s Road to Rio

by Gazette Reporter
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NAC’S Oliver Dingley made Irish diving history this past week as he qualified a place for Ireland at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The country has not been represented in Diving at the Games in 68 years with Dubliner Eddie Heron the last to compete at the 1948 Olympics in London.
The 23-year-old Dingley put in an impressive performance in the men’s 3m springboard event at the diving World Cup in Rio de Janeiro to finish in 15th place – with the top 18 securing places for their country at the Games.
Dingley sat comfortably within the qualification places for the duration of the event, ranking as high as fifth place at one stage.
His qualification sees him follow in Heron’s trail. The forerunner was born and raised in Dublin’s north inner-city to later go on and win the British Diving Championship in 1932.
Dingley meanwhile hails from North Yorkshire, England but declared for Ireland through his grandmother and has set up base in Dublin 15 at the NAC.
Previously, he won a bronze medal for England at the Commonwealth Games in 2014, before going on to switch alliances later that year.
He also finished second in Team GB trials in the lead up to the 2012 Olympic Games before the third-placed diver was preferred over him.
Speaking after his qualification was confirmed, a delighted Dingley said he was tired but at the same time overjoyed to make the Games.
“I’m exhausted; it was probably the most stressful four hours of my life but absolutely amazing,” he said. To qualify a spot for Ireland is fantastic. I can’t believe it.”
With 56 divers competing in this week’s competition, the preliminary round took a total of three hours to complete.
“It was a one dive at a time process, the first dive went well, second went well, I got to the last two and I knew that if I got these I’d secure a spot for the Olympic Games”, he added.
“My coach was with me the whole time trying to keep my nerves down. We were just throwing a tennis ball about trying to keep my mind off it.”
He said that self-belief was a key motivation but that a strong sense of endurance was also required for the three hour event in which each dive was only 30 minutes apart.
“Unfortunately, there were lots of people that didn’t get a spot to go to the Olympics and I’m one of the lucky ones who did.
“We’ve done plenty of competition run-throughs but nothing really prepares you. This is my first ever World Championships and I’ve never experienced anything like it.”

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