Tomoaki Tasaka, FINA Press Correspondent in Japan

Before the official start of the first leg of the FINA/CNSG Diving World Series in Sagamihara (JPN), on March 1, 2019 the opening Press Conference of the event took place today, with the presence of several diving stars and the FINA representatives in the competition.

Jennifer Abel from Canada, Cao Yuan and Shi Tingmao from China, Jack Laugher from Great Britain and four Japanese competitors (Ken Terauchi, Sho Sakai, Minami Itahashi and Rin Kaneto) provided their impressions on the Japanese leg and spoke about their perspectives for the 2019 season.

“It’s the second time I come to Japan for the Diving World Series. This event is very important, as it takes place one year before the Olympic Games. So I am very excited and really looking forward to this competition”, Shi said. The Chinese star was the overall 2018 winner in the women’s 3m springboard.

Her teammate Cao Yuan, the best in the men’s 3m competition last year, confessed: “I am very excited and looking forward this competition. During this event I will do my best and show my best performances to all the spectators”.

Great Britain's Jack Laugher, 2016 Olympic gold medallist in the 3m synchro springboard, talked about his enthusiasm for the opening leg. “I am honoured to be here in Japan as I missed the Diving World Series last year because of an injury. It’s a very strong field because there are great athletes”, he said.

Jennifer Abel, who won bronze at the 2012 London Olympics in the 3m synchro springboard event, considered: “It was a very long off-season for most of the divers. The Diving World Series is a very good event for us to learn and to be ready for the big competitions, like the Olympic Games next year. I am really looking forward to do my best”.

Japan’s veteran diver Ken Terauchi (38 years old), bronze medallist at the 2001 FINA World Championships in 3m springboard, provided the following comment: "It is an honour to be here with so many great athletes, one year before the Olympic Games. I am really happy that the international top divers participate in this competition. It will be the sixth Olympic Games for me, so I want to make a good result in this leg”.

On FINA’s behalf, Zhou Jihong (CHN), Bureau Member and Liaison for Diving, stated: “I would like to warmly welcome all the participants to this first leg in Japan. This year, the Diving World Series will have five legs around the world. I express my gratitude to all organisers of these meets. Moreover, I am pretty sure that we will witness many outstanding performances from these great athletes. I wish everyone the best luck!”

Other FINA representatives attending the Press Conference were Melanie Beck (GBR), Diving World Series Manager, and Kathy Seaman (CAN), FINA Technical Diving Committee Honorary Secretary.