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Aussie diving stars on track to book their ticket for Birmingham

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The Australian diving championships have witnessed some of Australia’s best divers compete for selection ahead of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Some 11 years and one retirement after winning his first world championship diving gold medal, Australia’s Shixin Li is thrilled at the prospect of competing for another.

Li has secured selection for the world titles in Budapest later this month and put himself in contention for the Commonwealth Games in July-August.

The Chinese-born diver triumphed in the men’s three-metre event at the Australian championships in Melbourne on Saturday.

Li’s victory was emphatic, scoring 900.05 with Lachlan Cronin (788.85) and Sam Fricker (787.00) next-best.

Li won gold for China in the one-metre springboard at the 2011 world championships and repeated that success at the 2013 worlds.

He retired in 2014 and was poached by Australia to become a diving coach.

While coaching, he made a comeback to the sport and competed at last year’s Tokyo Olympics for Australia.

The 34-year-old Victorian-based diver is now eyeing success at the world titles in Budapest from June 18 and the Birmingham Commonwealth Games starting on July 28.

“It’s very exciting to once again make the Australian team,” Li said.

“This is my first time I will get to go to the Commonwealth Games and I am very much looking forward to it.

“I have travelled to a lot of places around the world for diving but I have never been to the UK.”

Li will be the oldest member of a 14-strong diving team for the Commonwealth Games to be formally announced on Tuesday.

The team will include Nakita Hains, who won the women’s platform event on Saturday at the national championships, which doubles as the selection meet for the Birmingham Games and the worlds.

“I’m just so elated, I’m shaking,” the 21-year-old Hains said.

“I wanted to put in a steady performance and go out there and make myself proud … to come away with the win is just amazing.

“The women’s platform event is a really strong event so it’s very exciting to be part of that.

“This would be my first World Championships and Commonwealth Games team which would mean everything to me and is something I’ve always dreamed of.”

Tokyo Olympian Hains (630.00), who has never competed at a world titles or Commonwealth Games, claimed a narrow win from Emily Boyd (629.45) and Emily Meaney (628.50).

In the women’s 3m, Brittany O’Brien (665.60) prevailed from Georgia Sheehan (656.40) and Maddison Keeney (649.50).

And the men’s platform was won by Cassiel Rousseau (984.55) ahead of Fricker (898.55) and Jaxon Bowshire (778.80).

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