GALLERY: Diver makes a splash at Chichester youth sport awards

DIVER Madeleine Angell is used to making a splash - and she certainly did that at this year’s Chichester & District Youth Sport Achievement Awards ceremony.

The 13-year-old beat off stiff competition from a clutch of other young stars who have competed nationally to land the main YSAA gold award, better known as the Dennis Polhill Award.

Madeleine Angell with the Dennis Polhill award, flanked by gold award nominees and past gold winners Yasmin Cooper and Izzie Brown  Picture by Kate Shemilt

Madeleine Angell with the Dennis Polhill award, flanked by gold award nominees and past gold winners Yasmin Cooper and Izzie Brown Picture by Kate Shemilt

Two past winners - athlete Izzie Brown and skier Yasmin Cooper - were among those she beat and were there to congratulate her as her win was announced.

See today’s (June 27) Observer for a full report on all the youth sport awards winners and a complete list of winners and nominees

Madeleine, who lives in Chichester and goes to the girls’ high school, said: “I didn’t really expect to win it. It’s fantastic. The award will certainly spur me on to keep on doing well.”

The silverware comes with a £250 grant from the Rotary Club of Chichester Priory, who help run the annual award scheme with Chichester District Council and the Observer.

Madeleine is a springboard and platform diver who trains with Southampton Diving Academy. She is coached by Lindsey Fraser - who also looks after Olympic diver Pete Waterfield - and Zinde Zhange.

She trains six days a week - split between the pool and dry training in the gym on strength and conditioning, trampoline and dry board work.

The former gymnast turned her attentions to diving just after her tenth birthday and took to it like a duck to water, or perhaps a kingfisher to water.

In 2012 at the British Gas Junior Elite Championships, she won the national one-metre springboard title, silver on platform - missing gold by one point - and was fifth on the three-metre springboard in the 12-13 year category.

Early this year, she competed at the British Gas Senior Diving Championships in Plymouth - her first competition alongside the seniors, some of whom had competed at London 2012.

She finished 12th on one-metre springboard, while her first attempt at three-metre syncro ended in fourth place, earning her the British Gas junior national bronze.

Just taking part in this competition was amazing for Madeleine, who had set it as a big target.

In March, at the British Gas Junior Elite Championships in the 14-15 age group, she was fourth on three-metre syncro, sixth on one-metre springboard, eighth on three-metre springboard and 11th on platform. Then in Leeds, at the G-Star national event, she achieved personel-best scores on both springboards.

Now she is aiming to qualify for junior international and European competition - and wants to end up representing GB - and Chichester, of course, at Olympic and Commonwealth Games.

She said she couldn’t do it without the support of mum Tracey, dad Robin and brothers Josh (15), Jack (11) and Harry (eight).