By KAVISHA DI PIETRO
Divers competing at the 2018 Commonwealth Games will face new challenges with finals to be held at night – outdoors and under lights for the first time.
The change presents a rare challenge to the athletes, most of who will have rarely competed outdoors at night, if at all.
A total of 10 events (five for men and five for women) will be contested at the Optus Aquatic Centre, with heights ranging from 1m springboard to the 10m platform competition.
A sport since the inaugural edition of the Games in 1930, Australia has won 107 medals, sitting just seven behind leader Canada, with 34 gold, 39 silver and 34 bronze.
Tom Daley at the World Championships last year.
Athletes to watch – the world
Tom Daley (individual 10m, 3m synchronised) – England
Reigning world champion Tom Daley will look to defend his 2010 and 2014 Commonwealth 10m platform title. The 24-year-old has dominated the men’s 10m platform event since competing in his first Games as a 16-year-old. Daley is also a Games medallist in the 3m Synchronised event and will look to add to his collection 17 career medals at these Games.
Meaghan Benfeito & Caeli McKay (10m synchronised) – Canada
Two-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist Meaghan Benfeito has experienced a colourful 12 months after the retirement of her diving partner Roseline Fillon. Benfeito has spent the lead-up to the Games mentoring her new partner, Caeli McKay, who is 11 years Benfeito’s junior. The pair are entering the Game following a sixth-place finish at the Diving World Series event in March, where Commonwealth Games rivals Pamg Pandelela Rinong and Cheong Jun Hoong finished third and Australians Taneka Kovchenko and Melissa Wu finished fifth.
Melissa Wu and Taneka Kovchenko competing last year.
Athletes to watch – hometown heroes
Melissa Wu (10m, 10m synchronised with Taneka Kovchenko)
Competing in her fourth Commonwealth Games at just 25 years old, Australian favourite Melissa Wu will be looking to win her fourth Commonwealth medal. Wu’s best shot at winning will be in the 10m synchronised event where Wu and partner Taneka Kovchenko finished fifth in the Diving World Series.
Declan Stacey (10m, 10m synchronised with Domonic Bedggood)
New to the sport of diving after crossing over from elite gymnastics two years ago, Declan Stacey is making his Commonwealth Games debut. Competing at his first international event in 2016, Stacey shocked the diving world by winning the bronze medal in the 10m platform behind two world-class Chinese divers. Despite not having as much experience as the other divers competing in this year’s competition, Stacey has impressed in the lead-up to the Games winning bronze in the 10m mix synchronised event at the 2017 Canada Cup and winning silver in the 10m individual event for the GC2018 trials. A strong record at the competition venue should hold him in good stead to be compete with the world’s best.
The diving competition begins tomorrow (Wednesday) and runs until April 14.