Oliver Dingley becomes first Olympic diving qualifier for Ireland

Oliver Dingley in full flight
Oliver Dingley in full flight
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Harrogate-born Oliver Dingley will become the first Irish diver to compete at an Olympics since 1948 after finishing within the qualification zone at the Rio World Cup.

Dingley booked his ticket to Brazil this summer after placing 11th in the 3m springboard qualification, on the same board that will be used for the Olympic Games this summer.

Requiring a top-18 finish at the FINA Diving World Cup in Rio on Sunday, the 23-year-old scored 415.05 points to progress to the semi-finals.

"I'm exhausted, it was probably the most stressful four hours of my life," Dingley said.

"But the team effort from my coach and everyone back home to get me to Rio has been absolutely fantastic, I can’t believe it,"

The preliminary round, with 56 divers, took three hours to compete.

"It was a one dive at-a-time process,” he added. “My coach was with me the whole time trying to keep my nerves down. We were just throwing a ball about, just trying to keep my mind off it."

Dingley won Commonwealth Games bronze for England two years ago before switching allegiances to the country of his grandmother’s birth.

Dubliner Eddie Heron was the last diver to reach an Olympic Games for Ireland when competing at the 1948 Olympics in London.

Dingley, who has also had a cameo appearance on hit TV show Splash, will join former training partner and medal hopeful Jack Laugher and City of Leeds diver Yona Knight-Wisdom in the 3m springboard line up.

Oliver Dingley, here alongside Ripon's Jack Laugher, competed for England at the Commonwealth Games, winning a medal in 2014

Oliver Dingley, here alongside Ripon's Jack Laugher, competed for England at the Commonwealth Games, winning a medal in 2014

Laugher will be one of the medal favourites after winning gold on the World Diving Series 12 months ago.

The series starts next week with the first competition taking place in China.