Tanya Watson becomes first Irish female diver to qualify for an Olympic Games

Tanya Watson in action at the 2019 European Championships
Watson became the first Irish female diver to qualify for an Olympic Games by reaching the semi-finals of the 10m platform event at the World Cup event in Tokyo

Tanya Watson has made Irish diving history by becoming the country's first female diver to qualify for an Olympic Games.

Southampton-born Watson, 19, achieved the feat by securing a semi-finals spot in the 10m platform event at the Diving World Cup meeting in Tokyo.

Watson qualified 16th with her second best ever score in a FINA competition.

She needed a top-18 finish to book an Olympic spot and her score of 271.85 in the preliminary round proved enough.

The 19-year-old will be in semi-finals action in the Japanese capital on Wednesday at 08:00 BST.

Primarily based at the Southampton Diving Academy in England, Watson has spent much of her time during the period of Covid-19 at the Irish National Centre in Dublin alongside another Olympic hopeful Oliver Dingley.

"It has been a really emotional time for me and I just got it together at the right time," said Watson, who qualifies to represent Ireland through a Derry-born grandmother.

"After this last year, from everything being postponed, and living away from home for so long, I am very grateful that I was able to qualify Ireland a spot for the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

"It wasn't perfect, I need to work on dive two [of five], but I am excited for the semi-finals and for what's to come this summer."

Ohio-based Ciara McGing was also competing for Ireland in the 10m Platform and finished 23rd with a score of 240.95.

McGing will have an anxious two weeks while she waits for FINA to determine whether that position will also qualify her for the Games alongside Watson.

Joining Watson on Ireland's schedule on Wednesday will be Rio 2016 Olympian Dingley.

Dingley was Ireland's first Olympic diver in 68 years at Rio when he secured a finals spot and he will begin his bid for a return to that level at 02:00 on Wednesday in the 3m Springboard event.

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