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Ex-Olympian from Horsham celebrates cliff diving success

Horsham diver Blake Aldridge competing in the Red Bull World Cliff Diving Series in Havana, Cuba. Photo by Dean Treml/Red Bull Cliff Diving

Horsham diver Blake Aldridge competing in the Red Bull World Cliff Diving Series in Havana, Cuba. Photo by Dean Treml/Red Bull Cliff Diving

A former British Olympic star and diving partner of Tom Daley has won the first event of the 2014 Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series in Havana, Cuba.

Blake Aldridge, 31, who lives in Horsham, earned his first win on the tour thanks to an outstanding third and final dive from the 27m board, at the event on Saturday May 10.

Aldridge took the near-unprecedented step of changing his dive to add an extra twist, just moments before the crucial dive.

He said: “You’re so focused and so set on what you are going to do, so it is not really that wise to change your dive at the end, but I went all out and managed to nail it.

“I had a disappointing year last year and I didn’t hit that dive once all season, so it was a barrier I needed to break.

“It was a total surprise and very dramatic - it was a brilliant feeling to finally get a win.”

In the extreme sport, divers hit the water travelling at 95kph - and a mistake made at 26m in the air gives a similar feeling to falling onto concrete from 13m.

This year is Aldridge’s third on the tour, with his previous best result being a third placed finish at an event last year.

The former Olympian explained the 2008 Beijing Games, where he and Daley finished eighth, was disappointing.

The pair were world bronze medallists that year and Aldridge admitted he ‘expected’ an Olympic medal.

The blow prompted him to join the cliff diving circuit.

He said: “We travel to some of the most amazing locations around the world and at my first event in Brazil there were 70,000 people watching - it was amazing.

“It takes its toll on the body but it is me as a person to push boundaries to the limits.

“By winning the first event I am never going to get a better chance to get up there and finish in the top three.”

Aldridge also thanked staff at the Pavilions in the Park in Horsham for organising a free gym membership, so he can train when at home.

 

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