Jack Laugher: Olympic diving champion furious after diving coach quits GB role

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Olympic divers Jack Laugher and Chris Mears upset by coach quitting

Olympic champion Jack Laugher has blamed British Diving after his coach quit his role to join Australia’s team.

Adrian Hinchliffe guided Laugher and Chris Mears to Team GB’s first ever Olympic diving gold in Rio.

He is employed by Leeds City Council and worked for British Diving as a consultant but wanted to make a full-time switch to prepare for Tokyo 2020.

However, British Diving failed to make an offer and Hinchliffe has joined Australia Diving as head coach.

“He’s achieved things as a coach that no-one in this country has ever done before and it’s a massive insult to me and to Ady,” Laugher told BBC Look North.

“British Diving and the national performance director [Alexei Evangulov] have really overlooked how much of a key part he is.

“To have someone like Ady say ‘sack this I’m leaving’, well it should never have got to this point.”

British Swimming, of which British Diving is a part, has been approached by BBC Sport for comment, but is yet to respond.

In addition to Laugher and Mears, Olympic bronze medallist Daniel Goodfellow, Commonwealth champion Rebecca Gallantree and world junior medallists Lois Toulson and Katherine Torrance are all based at the City of Leeds set-up.

Like Hinchliffe, Plymouth Diving’s head coach Andy Banks has enjoyed success – initially with Tom Daley and more recently with the likes of Tonia Couch and Sarah Barrow – and is also employed by the local council.

Tom Daley’s current coach, Jane Figueredo – who heads Dive London at the 2012 Olympic Aquatics Centre – is employed by British Diving on a full-time contract.

Laugher says coach Ady Hinchliffe (right) has had his importance to British Diving “overlooked”

As a result of the squad’s successes in Rio and potential for medals in Tokyo, British Diving was awarded a funding increase – from £7.5m to £8.8m – by UK Sport heading into the next Games.

“After the Games it’s really tough for sports not knowing what they’ll receive, but ours actually went up, but unfortunately we haven’t seen that money travel to the coaching staff which is a real shame,” Mears told the BBC.

Hinchliffe feels he was left with “no option” but to accept the role with the Australian Diving team.

“To really help those like Jack and Chris as well as the other superstars we had out in Rio keep improving, I needed to be in a full-time role,” said Hinchliffe.

“Coaches tend to be humble by their nature – it’s the athletes who go up on the podium – but it’s such an important role.

“British sport is so successful at the moment and we need to examine all of the components behind that, but in my particular case I just don’t think that’s happened.”



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