Plymouth Diving chief Andy Banks hails British Championships as a triumph
ANDY BANKS declared the British Gas Diving Championships an unqualified success and a vindication of the city council's multi-million pound investment in the Life Centre.
Plymouth's Great Britain diving coach claimed the three-day championships, featuring the best of Britain's divers, had put the city on the sporting map.
Banks said the Central Park venue had been thoroughly road tested 'on every level you would wish to mention' with visiting clubs leaving Plymouth envious of the 'fantastic facility'.
They would also have been jealous of Plymouth's own healthy raft of established and burgeoning diving talent.
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Olympians Tom Daley, Tonia Couch and Sarah Barrow all won gold medals, while Plymouth's younger generation of athletes Shanice Lobb, Kayleigh Sinclair, Ashley Hendrick and Matthew Dixon, also picked up medals and enhanced reputations.
Banks said feedback from visiting clubs had been positive during Plymouth's first stab at staging a national competition.
He said: "I think everyone has gone home happy from what has been a successful event, both in competition and in organisation.
"The support from the punters has been special with Plymouth spectators turning up in droves and supporting our guys alongside other teams' followers.
"All the sessions have been sold out and the enthusiasm with which the British Championships has been received is outstanding.
"Even when competition was at its hottest, people could still come along and use our brilliant swimming pool without having their pleasure spoilt or our tournament affected in any way.
"The front of house staff have been praised for being really helpful and the staff have laid on the food and lunches for different areas, and security has been in place without being intrusive.
"It's all these touches which people from the sport's governing body as well as other dignitaries will remember.
"With all respect to the others, I've always maintained that we have the best venue in the whole country.
"Some people had their doubts on spending £46.5million on the Life Centre – I think Plymouth Council got it right. We now have sportsmen and sportswomen and a venue with the wow factor in this city."