Hugo Thomas enjoys medal-winning start to senior diving career
- Credit: JANE THOMAS
Hugo Thomas's rise up the standings in the diving world continues at a good pace after competing in his first senior tournament.
The Brookmans Park youngster was selected to compete in the FINA Diving Grand Prix 2021 Canada, which due to COVID-19 and travel restrictions was competed virtually.
The British squad went up to Sheffield to compete in real time while their Canadian and American counterparts were in their own pools. Judges then watched live via a videolink and independently scored the event.
And it proved a great baptism for Thomas who finished fifth in the preliminary round before winning bronze in the final of the 3m springboard behind Canada's Cedric Fofana and England team-mate Cameron Gammage.
After so long without competition, and having only climbed back into a pool in April, it was an incredible achievement and saw him best some, like Tyler Downs of USA, who are heading to Tokyo.
It got better with selection and a trip to the Junior Europeans in Rijeka, Croatia, in June.
He qualified for the final in second with a score of 458.9 and finished fifth behind Matteo Santoro of Italy in the final.
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British Diving talent and development manager Julian Bellan said: "We came into this competition with absolutely no reference points. All of these young athletes had gone 18 months with anyone any competition apart from one virtual event.
"We also didn't know how other countries had been impacted in that time in terms of training, and after talking to other coaches, it became clear that many had not had their training affected in the same way.
"We are so proud of them."
He will return to Croatia in September and as well as heading into Year 11 at Chancellor's School, he also has the National Junior Elite Diving Championships to look forward to.
His hopes are that he will be selected for the Junior World Championships in Kiev in December where a good performance there raises the possibility of being considered for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
Selection of another kind is also on the cards after his performance in the World Series.
The world-famous Princeton University in New Jersey has been in touch to discuss sport scholarship opportunities although as he is only at the end of Year 10, they aren’t able to make any offers until next year.