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Ireland's Watson makes history in Tokyo and qualifies for this summer's Olympics

The 19-year-old became Ireland’s first female diver to qualify for the Games.

Tanya Watson (file pic).
Tanya Watson (file pic).
Image: Giorgio Scala/INPHO

TANYA WATSON HAS made history in Tokyo, becoming Ireland’s first female diver to qualify for the Olympic Games.

Competing at the Fina Diving World Cup, Watson finished 16th in the preliminaries for the 10m Platform event — a result which means she advances to the semi-finals and secures her ticket back to the Japanese capital for this summer’s Games.

Contesting her first competition in 15 months — it was previously called off due to Covid concerns — the 19-year-old finished with a score of 271.85 points, and will be hoping to improve in the semi-final.

Watson made her senior international debut at the 2018 European Championships in Edinburgh, clocking 276.85 points to finish seventh.

Elsewhere in the Irish team — coached by Damian Ball — Ciara McGing just missed out on an automatic qualifying place, finishing in 23rd in the same event with a score of 240.95.

She must now wait until mid-May to find out her Olympic qualifying fate, when the allocation of unused qualifying places will go to world rankings.

Oliver Dingley — who represented Ireland at the Rio 2016 Games, finishing eighth and  becoming the country’s first diver to do so in 68 years — will be targeting qualification in the 3m Springboard event in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

“For me, it’s all about getting myself inside that top 18 and safely through to the Olympics,” Dingley recently told The42.

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Emma Duffy

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