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- 08. March 2008.

SHEFFIELD BACK ON DIVING WORLD STAGE



Sheffield's Ponds Forge International Sports Centre will host the prestigious event from 24th - 25th May which promises to showcase potential Olympians in the UK just two months out from the Beijing Olympics.

UK Sport has provided funding support of up to £115,000 from its National Lottery backed World Class Events Programme to support the international diving event. This alongside the support from Sheffield and its partners will help towards a promising legacy programme for the sport.

The programme is designed to extend before and beyond the competition to enthuse young people and volunteers about the sport who would not normally be involved in diving.

And with the support from their partners British Swimming has been invited to host a FINA Diving Judges School. This has many benefits including enhancing the quality and increasing the number of British FINA judges and will be held during the event at Ponds Forge ISC.

British Swimming's Events and Sponsorship Director Katie Brazier highlights the importance of the event as the national governing body begins its preparations towards 2012.

"With the support of our partners, UK Sport, Sheffield City Council and the Regional Development Agency, we aim to build on the success of last year's event and provide the best environment for our athletes to compete against the world's finest divers on home soil before they head to the Beijing Olympic Games," she said.

"Bidding for and hosting international events is a key part of our international strategy building towards the London 2012 Olympics and the 2014 Commonwealth Games. It's key that we continue to build our knowledge and expertise in staging high profile events and further develop our relationships with our key partners in the international diving arena."

UK Sport's Senior Events Consultant, Martin Morton, said that UK Sport's support for the event would help to develop the sports profile along with attracting more world class competition:

"The first FINA Diving World Series event hosted at Ponds Forge in 2007 was deemed to be a real success," he said. "The 2008 event will build upon its achievements and allow the profile of the sport to grow in the UK. With a revised competition format designed to produced a high quality television product this event will be a real showcase of the world's best diving talent".

The 2008 series will offer the additional benefit of guaranteed places for the host nations in each of the men's and women's events as well as wild card places from the other two legs of the series hosted by Mexico and China.

Councillor Tim Rippon, Cabinet Member for Economic regeneration, Culture and Planning at Sheffield City Council said: "The FINA Diving World Series is and excellent world class event. It is great for the City to be involved in one of the world's foremost diving competitions. Especially in the lead up to the London 2012 Olympics.

"Ponds Forge is recognised as a world class aquatics venue and the World Series will give spectators a chance to see local divers competing against divers from across the world, right here in Sheffield."
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