Welwyn Garden City diver wins gold - aged 87!

A DIVER is celebrating after winning gold at a prestigious international tournament — at the age of 87.

Pensioner Rene Puddifoot — Britain’s oldest high diver — returned home this week from the 2009 World Masters Games in Sydney, Australia, with a haul of four medals.

She won three golds in the over 80s high diving category — at one metre, three metres and five metres — and also took bronze in the synchronised diving category.

Held every four years, the World Masters Games is open to anyone over the age of 25 and often features former World and Olympic athletes, competing in 28 different events.

Rene’s achievements are all the more remarkable when put into context; she only took up diving aged 73.


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“I was bored of swimming,” she told the WHT. “All you can do is swim up and down.

“With diving, there’s always room for improvement. A twist here, an extra somersault there; there’s always ways of improving.”

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Rene, of Nut Grove, WGC, regularly practises with the St Albans Diving Club, which trains in Hemel Hempstead.

“You’ve got to keep the muscles going for diving,” she said. “It’s like learning to play the piano.”

Far from resting on her laurels, Rene plans to compete in the FINA World Masters Championships in Sweden next year.

But Peter, her husband of 50 years, is hardly surprised. “She’s a very determined person,” he said.

“She’s always liked to do it. It’s something she’s always worked very hard at, as she does everything. It’s nice to get some satisfaction from having achieved this.”

There is however, a downside to travelling the world and winning competitions.

“Winning all these medals,” Rene said. “It makes the luggage so much heavier!”

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