Laugher moves on from criticism of British Diving and insists there is no rift

Published: Monday 6th February 2017 by The News Editor

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Olympic champion Jack Laugher has moved on from his criticism of British Diving after his coach quit to take a job in Australia.

Laugher, who with Chris Mears won Britain’s first Olympic diving gold in Rio last August, hit out at the national governing body after Leeds coach Adrian Hinchcliffe departed.

British Diving expressed regret at Hinchcliffe’s decision, while British Swimming chief executive David Sparkes, in defence of his organisation, said it was partly a lifestyle choice by the coach.

Laugher does not believe his relationships within the set-up have been damaged by venting his frustration.

The 22-year-old Harrogate diver, who also won individual silver in Rio, told Press Association Sport: “My words were honest and heartfelt.

“I don’t think that’s changed any relationships I have, especially with my superiors in diving. There’s no rift with anyone.

“They can understand why I’m upset. I feel I’m in the right to be upset and to speak my mind.

“I’m a professional guy, I’ve said what needed to be said and I’ll move forward from it.

“British Diving is looking so strong at the moment, it would be foolish to prolong it.

“We’ve got a big year coming up and a lot of key competitions. It would be silly to make it into something it’s not.”

Laugher, who with Mears won the British Cup in Plymouth on Friday, hopes the Commonwealth, European and Olympic three-metres synchronised springboard champions can add world gold in Budapest in July.

And he is also contemplating competing on the one-metre springboard in individual competition.

Laugher admitted he suffered post-Olympic blues during a two-and-a-half-month break from the sport.

Laugher added: “I did struggle off the back of the Olympics with motivation.

“After you become Olympic champion it’s like ‘where do you go from there’?

“I’d always dreamed about it, but I didn’t know I was going to achieve that goal when I was 21.

“It was great fun for the first couple of weeks, but after a while I was really struggling.

“I got back into diving again and started enjoying myself again.”

Post-Rio, Mears contemplated retirement to focus on his other passion, music.

Mears, 24 on Tuesday, is an accomplished DJ and has already released a single.

He decided to continue diving and stay in Leeds, house-sharing with close friend Laugher, rather than relocate to London.

“It was something that was considered, mostly because the last four years I was training hard towards one thing,” Mears said.

“Once you’ve completed it, while everything was great at the time, you start to explore other options.

“It’s not the right timing at the moment for me. I really love my sport and love what I do.

“There’s so much passion behind what I do and it’s something I’d love to carry on as long as possible.”

The articulate, effervescent pair had offers to join the celebrity circuit after their Rio win, but ‘Strictly Come Dancing’, ‘I’m a Celebrity’ and ‘The Jump’ – the winter sports show that they would likely excel at – will have to wait.

Mears added: “We both had opportunities like that. It’s flattering and pretty cool.

“Things like that are to be considered at the end of your career.

“There are so many more things Jack and I want to achieve in our careers.”

Mears says working with new coaches will lead to a different perspective.

And he and Laugher will always have their Rio success to savour and reflect upon.

Mears: “It’s given us a bond because we’ve won together. We’re always going to have that.

“But at the same time I don’t think we could get any closer: we’re such good mates.

“It’s really nice to have that success as a team.”

Published: Monday 6th February 2017 by The News Editor

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