Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Reid and Heatly amongst GB divers heading for Tokyo

Grace Reid and James Heatly are named in a phenomenally strong 12-person diving squad heading to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in less than two months’ time.

After a terrific performance at the FINA Diving World Cup in the Japanese capital last month – a competition that also doubled up as the Olympic test event – Team GB will be represented by a full complement of divers in every single event, after the four remaining places were secured.

Edinburgh born Grace Reid (Dive London) made her Olympic debut in Rio in 2016 and for Tokyo will compete in both the Women’s 3m Springboard and 3m Synchro, with Scarlett Mew Jensen joining her in the former and City of Leeds’ Kat Torrance in the latter.

James Heatly (Edinburgh Diving Club) will join reigning Olympic champion, Jack Laugher, in the individual 3m Springboard event. Heatly won silver in the event at the Diving World Cup in Tokyo last month, backing that performance up with a strong display at the European Championships in Budapest, where he finished fourth.

Heatly said of his selection,

“It feels quite overwhelming. This moment has been a long time coming with a year’s delay from Covid. I am so happy to have got the job done and know I’m heading out to Japan to compete at my first Olympics next month.”

Speaking about the delayed Games and lockdown, Heatly said,

“I was confident and comfortable during lockdown. It was a case of acknowledging that there was nothing I could do so there was no point getting worked up about it. Everyone was in the same situation, so I just got on with it.

“I think the most difficult time was late last year and early into 2021 where moments of doubt set in. We’d be getting ready to start competing at events in December and January then they got cancelled so from being competition focused, we’d have to taper it back. Even the recent World Cup was postponed but I’m grateful the delay wasn’t long for that.

Speaking about his coach, Jen Leeming, Heatly continued,

“Jen has been amazing throughout this time. When we went into lockdown we talked through what we could do and she very quickly gave us a plan and kept training interesting when we were out of the pool. As a training group we owe a lot to Jen.”

Part of Heatly’s training group includes Jamaican athlete Yona Knight-Wisdom, who will also be heading to Tokyo. Heatly said,

“I’m very excited to go through this experience with Yona. He’s been my training partner since he moved to Edinburgh in 2018 and he’s good to lean on as he’s been to an Olympics and recently we were both looking for results which would help secure our places on our respective teams.”

Speaking about his late Grandfather, Sir Peter Heatly, James finished by saying,

“My Grandpa was 24 when he was selected to his first Olympic Games (London, 1948), and I’m 24 now. It is such a good coincidence.”

In the Men’s 3m Synchro event, Jack Laugher will be joined by Dan Goodfellow.

Tom Daley will once again double up in Tokyo, contesting both the 10m Platform and 10m Synchro events, the latter of which he won Olympic bronze in alongside Goodfellow in Rio. Now diving with Matty Lee in the synchro event, the Jane Figueiredo-coached duo will head to Japan full of confidence, after winning both the World Cup and European Championship titles last month.

Joining him from the high board in the individual contest will be Noah Williams, whilst Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix and Lois Toulson will go in the women’s event, with Toulson partnered by Eden Cheng in the synchro.

Of the team heading for Tokyo, Team GB Chef de Mission, Mark England, said: “It is a huge privilege to be able to welcome this talented group of athletes onto Team GB for the Tokyo Olympic Games.

“The performances we’ve consistently seen from these athletes throughout the recent World Cup and European competitions is testament to the hard work and dedication that the whole team has put in throughout what has been a very challenging year. Everyone who supports Team GB will be buoyed by what this team has achieved in recent weeks and will have every confidence that we will see more of these medal winning performances in Tokyo.

“Congratulations everyone and we look forward to welcoming you to Tokyo in July.”

British Diving Performance Director, Alexei Evangulov, added:

“This has been the longest Olympic cycle ever, however the hardest part of it was the last year - our team exceeded all my expectation in terms of coping with all the challenges we experienced during the pandemic. There were a lot; pools closures, isolation, quarantine, uncertainness, competitions postponements, you name it. Our divers not only managed to secure their physical and technical shape in this situation, but also significantly improved their diving quality.

“All of this, plus our coaches and staff’s professionalism allowed us to come up to the homestretch to Tokyo with a great confidence, high ambitions and belief.”

Great Britain diving team for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games:

Eden Cheng, London, Crystal Palace Diving
Thomas Daley, Plymouth, Dive London
Daniel Goodfellow, Cambridge, City of Leeds
James Heatly, Edinburgh, Edinburgh Diving Club
Jack Laugher, Harrogate, City of Leeds
Matty Lee, Leeds, Dive London
Scarlett Mew Jensen, London, Dive London
Grace Reid, Edinburgh, Dive London
Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix, London, Crystal Palace Diving
Katherine Torrance, Leeds, City of Leeds
Lois Toulson, Leeds, City of Leeds
Noah Williams, London, Dive London