So my life had changed beyond anything I ever imagined over the previous year or so and but I was now on the road to recovery, and I did at one point think about going back to Gymnastics. I went along to a Club, but the realisation that I would never get back to the level I had been and sudden fear I had of doing any moves on beam, made me realise that that chapter in my life was finally closed. It was a hard decision but the right one.
I decided to tip my toe into some different sports to see what I enjoyed. But gymnastics for me gave me such an adrenaline rush, it was hard. Generally, I excel in most sports and I particularly enjoyed athletics so I decided to go along to the Lea Valley Athletics Centre. I met a coach who put me through my paces on the track and invited me to train with his small group of young talented teenagers.
I always knew that there is more to being a runner to just running; I was taught the correct technique to help me gain more speed and lots of conditioning. There were times that it was just my coach and me and on one occasion another coach came over and said: "Would my coach mind us joining his group of young male teenagers, so they could learn from my dedication to my training".
I would also ask my mum to take me along early so I could warm-up and practice the other discipline I enjoyed 'High Jump'. On one of my training days, a lady who was in the stands came over and starting coaching me. Her 17-year-old daughter was training with an elite training group for her age, but she was a high jump coach and wanted to help me as I had talent and seemed very determined. I was concerned because I thought I would have to pay her, but she stated that she was only sitting waiting so she may as well use her time in a better way. Every time she was in the stands, she would come over and coach me.
Although it was great to learn the correct techniques and to add another string to my bow, I was bored. I wasn't challenged enough; although I am used to repetition, and I know its the key to success in anything, I missed the feeling Gymnastics gave me.
Later that summer when we were on holiday, and we were watching the Olympics because I come from a very sporty family, and even though we were on holiday, my mum and dad always planned the days around the sports they wanted to see. One of them was Platform Diving. My mum and dad were cheering Tom Daly on and at the end of the first day he was leading and the sheer shock on their faces the next day when he managed to finish last.
I, however, suddenly had a fire in my belly and was intrigued. I loved Swimming and have always been a good swimmer and Diving was a way I could use my Gymnastics and Swimming.
By the time we came home, my mum had found me a local Diving Club, and I was going along to meet the coach. I was meeting the coach at the Olympic Pool in Stratford.
Again I took to Diving like a duck to water, and the coach wanted me in the Pool as much as possible, and that included working in the dry pit using trampolines etc. to work on a different take off for my front and back somersaults.
6-weeks after I started training I was entered into a competition, sounds crazy, I agree, but I came 2nd in an All London competition and couldn't believe it!
My coach was pushing me along very quickly, and I was picking up new dives rapidly. At one training session, I was informed we would be working on the prep for an inverted dive, but at that time in never cross my mind what inverted meant. I just got on with working on taking off in a very tight position for the pike part of my dive.
When that part of the dive was ready, and it was time to move it to the Pool. I climbed up to the top platform, which was the large concrete platform as we had now moved back to Walthamstow. To start, I was to jump backwards from the platform and get as close as possible ready for the invert, then it clicked. When I got out of the water, I asked my coach what the brown marks were on the platform, and he didn't bat an eye when he told me it was blood from people cracking their head on the platform as they misjudged their distance from the board when carrying out the inverted dive.
No matter what I tried I couldn't sleep or get passed it I was terrified, I didn't mind doing other dives but anything that meant I was diving towards the platform, not away, I couldn't do it. But for me to move through the ranks, I had to do the inverted dive, so I decided to dive for fun and not compete.
I still enjoy diving when I go to Pool which has boards but my real calling was just around the corner!
Just some little videos of me in diving training. The cover photo is me before I did the Ultimate Challenge in Cornwall, 2016