February 20 - Julio Cesar Maglione, President of the International Swimming Federation (FINA), has expressed his excitement with 250 of the world's best divers, including Britain's teenage sensation Tom Daley, competing at the London 2012 diving test event at the Aquatics Centre on the Olympic Park.
The six-day competition, which started today and concludes on February 26, is titled the 18th FINA Diving World Cup and offers the last qualification opportunity for the athletes to reach the Olympic Games.
Daley is set to compete in the synchronised 10 metres platform competition alongside Pete Waterfield while the international world-class line up also includes Chinese Olympic champions He Chong and Chen Ruolin.
Chong is the reigning Olympic individual 3m springboard gold medallist and three-time world champion while Ruolin is double Olympic champion having won both the individual and synchronised 10m platform events at the games.
Daley's great rival, Matthew Mitcham of Australia, will also feature and will be a major contender both at the test event and at London 2012 after he became the only non-Chinese athlete to win a diving gold medal at the Beijing 2008 Olympics when he secured victory in the individual 10m platform competition.
"We are very happy to be here in London for this FINA Diving World Cup, which also constitutes a test event for the 2012 Olympic Games in this exciting city," said Maglione.
"FINA and London 2012 have worked very closely during the past years and months and it is now time to see if this hard work is fruitful.
"From everyone's feedback on the Aquatic Centre, this facility is amazing and will certainly constitute an asset for the success of FINA's disciplines at the Games' time.
"I am sure that this World Cup will also be a milestone and I look forward to witnessing the performances of our best athletes next summer during the Olympic celebration."
The British team have named 13 athletes for the test event with Daley and Waterfield joined by a number of strong test event medal contenders, including rising star Jack Laugher, the current junior world champion in both the individual 3m springboard and individual 1m springboard events.
Tonia Couch, Britain's most celebrated female diver who finished eighth in the individual 10m platform at Beijing 2008, will also line up for the hosts.
"We are really excited about the upcoming 18th FINA Visa Diving World Cup," said British Swimming chief executive David Sparkes.
"This event, which will be the first major event in the London 2012 Aquatics Centre, will showcase most of the world's diving stars.
"What a great opportunity this will be for our GBR Diving Team to take on some of their competitors in the Olympic venue and give us all an insight to what the Olympics will all be about."
The competition, which is part of the London Prepares series of test events and supported by Visa, UK Sport and British Swimming, will be the first event to be held at the Aquatics Centre and the 31st test event to be staged by the London 2012.
The event will test key elements of the venue operation and logistics such as lighting, results, scoring, workforce and timing while providing an ideal opportunity for athletes and team officials to compete at the venue ahead of the 2012 games and offer feedback for the Organising Committee.
"With less than 200 days to go until the start of the games our testing continues to be a priority," said London 2012 Director of Sport Debbie Jevans.
"Welcoming spectators into the Aquatics Centre for the 18th FINA Visa Diving World Cup 2012 will give a fantastic opportunity to see the world's best divers compete in an Olympic venue and will also provide us, the organisers, with a unique chance to test our operations."
Colin Grannell, the Head of Partnership Marketing at Visa Europe, added that Worldwide Olympic Partner Visa is very proud to be part of the high profile test event.
"As a sponsor of the Olympic Games for more than 25 years, we know that the 18th FINA Visa Diving World Cup 2012 will be a great opportunity for people to preview of one of the most popular competitions of the Olympic Games," he said.
"This qualifying event will be crucial for Team 2012 and international athletes to reach their goal of competing this summer."
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