Richmond’s Francesca Del Celo is hoping to match her taxi driver’s collection of one London 2012 Olympic bronze medal Down Under this weekend.
The 16-year-old rising British springboard diver jetted off to the Australian Youth Olympic Festival last Friday and kicked off her campaign yesterday in the three metre springboard synchro competition.
Del Celo is studying at Plymouth College, where she trains with Team GB diving star Tom Daley – who appeared in the same event six years ago – and his coach Andy Banks at Plymough Diving Club.
And the former St Mary Magdalen’s Catholic Primary School youngster, who uses 18-year-old Daley for lifts to and from training, is hoping some of Daley’s bronze medal magic can rub off on her.
“Tom is a good friend and he helps me out a lot with my diving too,” she said.
“It is great to know he has been there and done it all before so it is great to learn from his experience.
“We are using this more as experience than anything else, but other countries are sending more experienced junior athletes than us, so it is going to be tough.
“Chinese divers are always strong. I’ve never been to Australia before so I’m a little bit nervous to be honest, but I hope to do well.”
Del Celo moved to the UK from Genova in Italy aged three years -old and lived in Richmond until making the move further south last year.
She only took up the sport four years ago, having started her career as an acrobatic gymnast at Heathrow Gymnastics Club, but the Devon-based youngster was only too pleased to switch codes and has not looked back since.
The former Putney Park School student won the Junior European Championships three metre synchro gold earlier this year and is a long-time servant of the junior Team GB team .
“The world championships were the highest I could aim for so I changed,” added Del Celo, who goes in the three meter springboard individual event on today.
“Diving is a lot more exciting. ”