Diver taking leap of faith

London Olympics silver medallist relying on self-belief in comeback from surgery and enforced layoff

Australian diver Brittany Broben kept tabs on the opposition during her post-surgery absence. She is confident that she is still up there with her strongest rivals.
Australian diver Brittany Broben kept tabs on the opposition during her post-surgery absence. She is confident that she is still up there with her strongest rivals.ST PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN

Platform divers - the aerial gymnasts who leap from 10m above the water while contorting their bodies in every way imaginable - are noted for their courage.

For Australian Brittany Broben, though, courage comes in the form of daring to believe and having faith that she can bounce back from adversity to rediscover success.

At the London Olympics, Broben, then only 16, burst on the scene with a surprise silver medal, behind China's multiple Olympic champion Chen Ruolin.

She competed at the Barcelona world championships a year later, despite a shoulder injury.

That derailed her subsequent progress for several months while she hoped - ultimately in vain - to avoid surgery.


  • 6th Singapore Diving

    International - Fina Diving Grand Prix

    Where: OCBC Aquatic Centre

    When: Today till Sunday

    Tickets: $10 per session and $20 for a three-day season pass.

    From Sports Hub Tix.

In town for the three-day Fina Diving Grand Prix that begins today, Broben, now 19, said: "Last year was probably the lowest point of my career. It took me a long time to get over it.

"I had a couple of tough meets and (now) it's about believing that I'm still up there, that I can do it."

She underwent shoulder reconstruction surgery in March last year to rectify the problem but then missed the Glasgow Commonwealth Games because she was in a recovery phase.

It also caused her to miss this year's world championships in Kazan in Russia.

Said Broben: "Missing out on the Commonwealth Games was tough because I've never been there before. But I have to look at the bigger picture. It's over now so there's no point dwelling on it."

The prolonged time out has not stopped her from keeping tabs on the opposition, and she is confident the competition has not pulled away during her enforced absence.

"It's interesting to see who's at the top. There's a lot of fire in your stomach, you just want to get out there and see if you can beat them," she said.

"I don't think I'm behind them.

"I have all my dives on 10m back, so now it's about perfecting them, and mentally knowing I can do them well."

This year, she has taken part in just two legs of the Fina Diving Grand Prix series.

She failed to make the semi-finals on both occasions.

The Singapore competition is the seventh stop of the nine-leg event which does not serve as a qualifier for the Olympics next year.

"It's still going to be a tough event; some of North Korea and Britain's divers are pretty good. I'm just enjoying the ride now to Rio, and if I make it, amazing. If I don't, I've tried my best to get there."

Also in town are world powerhouses China who have a youthful squad of nine, headlined by recently-crowned world junior champion Wu Chunting.

The Chinese squad won six of eight medals on offer at the last Olympics, and 19 of 23 golds at the last two world championships.

Coach Wang Xiaosong, however, plays down talk of sweeping the medal table here. He said: "The objective is to train them and for them to gain exposure.

"We'd be satisfied as long as they can perform at their usual level."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 16, 2015, with the headline 'DIVER TAKING LEAP OF FAITH'. Subscribe