After a heavily disrupted 2020, British Diving is pleased to confirm that its premier annual diving competition will head to Ponds Forge in February.
A traditional curtain-raiser to the sport’s season, the British Diving Championships will take place on the 6th and 7th of February. The 2021 event will, however, feature limited numbers and run across a two-day format.
Due to the effects of COVID-19 closing pools and meaning most divers have been out of the water for large parts of the year, the decision has been taken to make the 2021 event invitation only. This has been an incredibly tough conclusion to reach, and not a decision we wanted to make, but the British Diving Senior Management Team felt there would be too many risks taken otherwise, both in the training in the build up to the event and at the event itself.
With rising COVID-19 infection rates in the UK and the expected trend in these numbers early in the New Year, we also wanted to minimise uncertainty as to whether this competition could take place at all. Invitations will therefore be limited to selected divers from our UK Sport-approved ‘Return to Training’ athlete list, who will be able to travel to Sheffield and compete, should tier restrictions that may be in place at the start of February prohibit many others from being there. The meet will therefore be run under Return to Domestic Competition Stage Three Guidance.
In a normal year, this event is used for selection to a number of Great Britain teams. However, in 2021 it will only be used to decide World Cup selection, in a bid to secure the remaining Olympic quota places.
Discussing the announcement and the changes made, National Performance Director Alexei Evangulov said:
“It goes without saying that I am disappointed this event cannot take place in its typical format, bringing together the whole UK diving community, which is always such a special occasion.
“However, 2020 hasn’t been a normal year, so we have to adapt if we are to maximise our performances at the Tokyo Olympic Games in July. Our top divers have missed a whole summer of competition, and so we must provide them with competition opportunities so that they can be in their best form at the World Cup and Olympics.”
Claire Davenport, Director of Events and Communications at British Swimming, added:
“We have been working extremely hard behind the scenes to try and ensure this event can go ahead, against an extremely challenging backdrop, which most of us have never faced before. Under UK Sport and DCMS guidance, we are confident we can run a safe event, with limited numbers and social distancing in place.
“I’d also like to say a massive thank you to Sheffield City Council for working with us to help put this event on, when so many other sporting events have fallen by the wayside.”
British Diving has also published its aforementioned selection policy, which will be used to select the team for the FINA Diving World Cup in April and the European Championships in May.
To read the policy in full, please click here.The selection criteria for the rescheduled Olympic Games in Tokyo are currently being finalised, and an update will be given in due course.