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Aussie divers hoping to make a (minimal) splash in Tokyo

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Australian diving royalty Melissa Wu headlines the seven divers selected for the Australian Olympic team heading to the Tokyo Olympics.

Four-time Commonwealth Games medallist Melissa Wu‘s selection to the team sees her become just the third Australian diver to represent Australia at four Olympics, with three-time Commonwealth Games and Olympic bronze medallist Anabelle Smith named to her third Olympics, two-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist Esther Qin making her second Olympic team.

The three Commonwealth Games alumni are joined by newcomers Nikita Hains, Cassiel Rousseau, Sam Fricker and Shixin Li all making their Olympic and major Games debuts.

After Wu made her debut as a 13-year-old at the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth, the now 29-year-old joins fellow Commonwealth Games gold medallists Jenny Donnet and Loudy Tourky-Wiggins as Australia’s only four-time Olympic divers, with the Beijing 2008 Olympic silver medallist and three-time world championship medallist securing her nomination with a dominant win in the women’s 10m trials.

Australian diving legend Melissa Wu, standing 152cm, meets with Australian basketball legend Lauren Jackson AO, standing 196cm, meet at the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games. (CGA Archive)

 

“The road to Tokyo has certainly been a long one, and now that we are at the pointy end of the journey I just can’t wait to get on the platform and put forward my very best,” Wu said.

“Being my fourth Games I think I have a good understanding of how to manage my emotions and expectations, and more than anything else just understand what to expect at an Olympic competition. Although Tokyo will no doubt look and feel different to Beijing, London, and Rio, when I step out onto the platform it will be just like any other competition.

“It’s been a really challenging last few months managing injuries, but I’m at a point now that my diving is consistent and I feel comfortable competing every single dive in my list.”

Chef de Mission of the Australian Olympic Team Ian Chesterman welcomed the athletes to the Australian Olympic Team for Tokyo.

“Congratulations to all seven divers named to the Australian Olympic Team,” Mr Chesterman said.

“This group of athletes have faced some difficult challenges and have shown incredible determination and perseverance to achieve their Olympic selection.

“I want to make particular mention of Melissa Wu – making a single Games is a special achievement but to make four Games is a rare accomplishment and a fantastic recognition of a career dedicated to excellence.

“It takes a village to raise an Olympian and I want to thank Diving Australia, the coaches and support staff who have helped develop these athletes from juniors to the world’s biggest sporting stage, and to the friends, family and supporters who have been there every step of the way to help these seven divers achieve their Tokyo Olympic dream.”

The seven divers selected won their nomination at the Diving Australia trials in Sydney to secure their ticket to Tokyo.

The diving team announcement takes the number of athletes selected to 226 of an expected 450, featuring 86 Commonwealth Games alumni members.

Shixin Li makes history as the oldest Australian diver to make their Olympic debut, with the 33-year-old Li joining 19-year-old Fricker and 20-year-old Rousseau for an all-debutant men’s team.

20-year-old Queenslander Rousseau will compete in the men’s 10m, following in the footsteps of Australian diving legends like seven-time Commonwealth Games medallist Matthew Mitcham OAM.

“To make these Olympic Games is just a dream come true,” Rousseau said.

“To be able to put on the green and gold and compete in an event in which so many legendary athletes such as Mat Helm and Matt Mitcham competed themselves, it’s just a huge honour.

“It’s surreal to think that the Olympics is less than 40 days away after the long year that we’ve just had, but I think that just builds the anticipation.

“I came to diving from acrobatic gymnastics not too long ago but this community has been so welcoming and supportive.”

The Diving competition will run from 25 July to 7 August at the Olympic Aquatic Centre.

Australian Olympic Diving Team

Name Event Age State Olympic Games Experience Commonwealth Games Experience
Sam Fricker 10m platform 19 NSW Debut
Nikita Hains 10m platform 20 WA Debut
Shixin Li 3m spring 33 VIC Debut
Esther Qin 3m spring 29 NSW 2nd (2016) 2014 – Women's 3m Springboard – Gold, Women's 1m Springboard – Bronze; 2018 – Women's 3m Synchronised Springboard – Gold, Women's 1m Springboard – Bronze, Women's 3m Springboard – 5th
Cassiel Rousseau 10m platform 20 QLD Debut
Anabelle Smith 3m spring 28 VIC 3rd (2012 & 2016) 2010 – Women's 10m Platform Synchronised – Bronze, Women's 10m Platform – 7th, Women's 3m Springboard – 4th; 2014 – Women's 3m Springboard Synchronised – Bronze, Women's 3m Springboard – 8th; 2018 – Women's 3m Springboard – Bronze, Women's 3m Springboard Synchronised – 7th
Melissa Wu 10m platform 29 NSW 4th (2008, 2012 & 2016) 2006 – Women's 10m Platform Synchronised – Silver, Women's 10m Platform – 5th; 2010 – Women's 10m Platform Synchronised – Gold, Women's 10m Platform – Silver; 2014 – Women's 10m Platform Synchronised – 5th, Women's 10m Platform – 11th; 2018 – Women's 10m Platform – Gold, Women's 10m Platform Synchronised – 4th

With thanks Australian Olympic Committee and Diving Australia.

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