Melissa Wu poses for a portrait after the Australian Diving Team for the Commonwealth Games was announced at Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre, Sydney, Australia, 04 February 2018. Photo by Brianne Makin
Melissa Wu poses for a portrait after the Australian Diving Team for the Commonwealth Games was announced at Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre, Sydney, Australia, 04 February 2018. Photo by Brianne Makin

‘Scary’: What has Aussie divers spooked?

WHEN you make your Commonwealth Games debut at 13 you learn how to perform in the limelight but Melissa Wu says it's being put under the spotlight on the Gold Coast that has some divers spooked.

Wu, the youngest athlete in Melbourne in 2006, will join an elite club of Australians who have represented at two home Commonwealth Games when the diving kicks off at the outside venue at Southport in April.

Melissa Wu at Sydney Olympic Aquatic Centre. Picture: Brianne Makin
Melissa Wu at Sydney Olympic Aquatic Centre. Picture: Brianne Makin

The 25-year-old, on the comeback from stress fractures in her back, bulging discs in her neck and a knee injury, said while she has dived at night under lights, many of her teammates named Sunday to compete on the Gold Coast have not and it has them rattled.

Wu, who relied on a discretionary selection to make her fourth Games team, says it is the cold and wind she will find the most difficult to cope with.

"It's no secret the Commonwealth Games venue is quite difficult to dive in," said Wu, who has won synchronised gold at this level but never an individual gold.

While Wu is a "feel" diver, others spot (use reference points) with night finals under lights making this tricky.

"I've never done it, I'm pretty scared," said Rio Olympian Brittany O'Brien, slated for the 10m and 10m Synchro events.

But with home pressure comes a home advantage with the Australian squad to train and compete at the venue under lights later this month to acclimatise for the Games.

"It's going to be a big advantage for us," said Wu, an Olympic silver medallist in 2008 who will contest the 10m and 10m Synchro with Taneka Kovchenko on the Gold Coast.

Melissa Wu during the FINA World Championships.
Melissa Wu during the FINA World Championships.

Australia's team for the home Games is 14 strong with Wu, James Connor (Delhi 2010), Anabelle Smith (2010, Glasgow 2014), world 1m springboard champion Maddison Keeney (2014) Esther Qin (2014), Domonic Bedggood (2014) and Georgia Sheehan (2014) all boasting Commonwealth Games experience.

Bedggood and Qin were gold medallists in Glasgow and Sheehan was the youngest member of the entire Australian team at just 15.

The Commonwealth Games debutants are O'Brien, AnnaRose Keating, Matthew Carter, Declan Stacey, Matthew Barnard, Kurtis Mathews and Kovchenko.



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