Chinese coaches boost medal takeaway hopes

PUBLISHED: 17:47 19 August 2009 | UPDATED: 10:13 12 August 2010

OLYMPIC diver Blake Aldridge says the borough s hopes of producing 2012 champions have never been higher. The 27-year-old believes

OLYMPIC diver Blake Aldridge says the borough's hopes of producing 2012 champions have never been higher.

The 27-year-old believes the Chinese coaches who are coordinating the training programme for young hopefuls at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre (CPNSC) "cannot fail" to produce medalists.

Mr Aldridge, who lives in Bromley, is back training at the centre in preparation for 2012.

He said: "Crystal Palace has the best training programme in Britain for the young kids.

"You can see in the short amount of time that the Chinese coaches have been there the difference they have made.

"The Chinese have a style which is very athletically pleasing for the judges. They cannot fail. I've seen them working and they bring out the best. They are the best nation in the world for diving."

Mr Aldridge, who partnered 15-year-old Tom Daly at last year's Beijing Olympics, was attacked in a nightclub in Southampton in February, shattering his dreams of competing in the British Championships.

He said: "I'm just trying to get myself fit again now and back on top form. Tom is partnered with somebody else at the moment but hopefully they will put us back together in the future.

"It's a long way off to the Olympics but I am planning on competing and becoming the world number one or two."

Director of diving at Crystal Palace, Chris Snode, was responsible for recruiting Chinese coaches for the new training programme and is confident the move will pay off.

He said: "Bromley has some fantastic talent which we are nurturing. We did a massive talent search in Bromley, testing more than 10,000 children. At least two of them will be competing in the Olympics.

"Also, Stacey Powell and Nick Robinson-Baker, who both went to Biggin Hill Junior School, both competed in Beijing and will definitely be taking part in 2012.

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