Road to Rio: Jamaican making a big splash as Leeds divers excel

Yona Knight-Wisdom
Yona Knight-Wisdom
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LEEDS-based Yona Knight-Wisdom will become Jamaica’s first ever Olympic diver this summer after qualifying a spot in Rio this week.

Knight-Wisdom was born in Leeds to a Jamaican father and Barbadian mother, with the diver competing for Jamaica at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Cmmonwealth champions Rebecca Gallantree and Alicia Blagg(nearside) have qualified their spot at the Rio Olympics.

Cmmonwealth champions Rebecca Gallantree and Alicia Blagg(nearside) have qualified their spot at the Rio Olympics.

And now the 20-year-old Leeds Beckett University student is heading to the Rio Olympics after claiming a historic silver medal in the men’s individual springboard final at this week’s Rio World Cup.

Knight-Wisdom’s score of 459.25 was a new lifetime best and was only bettered by Mexico’s Rommel Pacheco Marrufo (504.40). Knight-Wisdom will be joined by a strong contingent of City of Leeds Diving Club stars in Rio with Rebecca Gallantree and Alicia Blagg booking their spots this week, to join Jack Laugher and Chris Mears who had already qualified.

Gallantree and Blagg earned their place in the women’s synchronised 3m springboard. Their score of 299.28 saw them finish in sixth place in what is the official test event for this summer’s Olympics.

Harrogate-born Oliver Dingley, who used to be based in Leeds, will become the first Irish diver to compete at an Olympics since 1948 after he also finished within the qualification zone in the 3m springboard event. Sheffield’s Freddy Woodward also qualified in the same event, on the same day that Tom Daley and Dan Goodfellow booked their place at the Olympics after combining for a bronze medal in the men’s 10m synchro event.

Another former Leeds diver, Sarah Barrow, finished third in the women’s synchronised 10m platform event alongside Tonia Couch, also good enough to book a spot at Rio. Grace Reid and Georgia Ward have also qualified in the springboard events.