NEW ZEALAND DIVING
Following an impressive Olympics debut in Tokyo where he placed 8th in the men’s 3-metre springboard final, New Zealand diver Anton Down-Jenkins hopes his performance has helped to raise the profile of diving amongst Kiwi kids and inspired them to give it a go.
At 10 years old, Anton went along to a ‘Have A Go’ day with Wellington Diving Club and hasn’t looked back since.
“My mum put my older sister and I into a have a go day at Kilbirnie Pool and after that were both invited to join a talent ID squad. By the time I was 14 I was in the Diving NZ National Squad and heading to the World Junior Championships in Russia,” said the 21-year-old. Diving has also allowed Anton to obtain a sports scholarship in the USA. He studies full-time at the University of North Carolina where he trains 25 hours per week and competes annually in around 15 events in America and abroad.
The diver has thrown his support behind an online advertising campaign from Diving New Zealand that features himself, fellow Olympian Lizzie Cui, and NZ Commonwealth Games diver Liam Stone, all of whom are keen to see the sport grow in New Zealand. The campaign encourages kids from ages 8-18 to register for a ‘Have A Go’ day with their local club and see where it takes them.
Lizzie Cui can attest that diving can take you far and wide, having travelled to competitions all over the world, including going to Rio in 2016 to compete in her first Olympics at just 19 years old. After spending the last five years studying and diving in the USA, Lizzie is delighted to have recently returned to New Zealand where she and her partner Ryan are looking forward to the arrival of their baby girl, due in a few months.
“It’s great that diving is continuing to grow and flourish in New Zealand and it’s an exciting time to be part of the sport. I started when I was nine and have had some incredible experiences travelling to international events including the Commonwealth Games and the Olympics, as well as having the opportunity to study and live in Louisiana. I love this sport and really want to see more kids give it a go.”