Oliver Dingley makes Irish diving history and qualifies for Rio

Ireland has not been represented in diving at the Olympic games since 1948 in London

 Oliver Dingley has secured a place at the Rio Olympics for Ireland. Photograph: Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Oliver Dingley has secured a place at the Rio Olympics for Ireland. Photograph: Dan Mullan/Getty Images

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Ireland’s Oliver Dingley has made Irish diving history by qualifying for a place at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Ireland has not been represented in diving at the Games in 68 years with Dubliner Eddie Heron the last to compete at the 1948 Olymics in London.

The 23-year-old put in an impressive performance in the men’s 3m Springboard event to finish in 11th place with the top 18 securing places for their country at the Games and a semi-final spot. Dingley sat comfortably within the qualification places for the duration of the event ranking as high as 5th at one stage.

A delighted Dingley commented “I’m exhausted, it was probably the most stressful four hours of my life but absolutely amazing, the team effort, me, my coach, everyone back home, phyio, strength and conditioning, psychology, just to get me to Rio has been absolutely amazing and to qualify a spot for Ireland is fantastic. I can’t believe it.”

With 56 divers competing in today’s competition, the preliminary round took three hours to complete “It was a one dive at a time process, first dive went well, second went well, I got to the last two and I knew that if I got these I’d secure a spot for the Olympic Games. My coach was with me the whole time trying to keep my nerves down, we were just throwing a ball about, just trying to keep my mind off it.”

European champion Matthieu Rosset of France took the top spot in the event with 464.85 points while World Champion Chao He of China was eighth with 419.20 points.

Dingley now progresses to Monday’s semi-final with all 18 qualifiers vying for a final spot which will include 12 divers.

Natasha MacManus also takes to the pool for her event on Monday. MacManus competes in the preliminary round of the women’s 3m Springboard at 1pm.

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