Team England’s Eden Cheng: ‘It’s just an honour to wear the lion’

With a home Commonwealth Games just around the corner, we take a look at the athletes who will be competing for Team England this summer.

Eden Cheng will represent Team England in her first Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and has told us how proud she is to wear the lion.

On her selection she said: “With this being a home games and my first Commonwealth Games I’m really happy to have been selected and it’s just a really nice end to the season.

“It’s another big competition that we can get to which has spectators as well and it lets us showcase what we can do.”

Teenager Cheng has already been to two World Championships and an Olympic Games in Tokyo and is excited to have all these major events back on the calendar.

“It’s so exhilarating.

“It just makes you really happy to be able to be out on a world stage event and it’s an honour to wear the lion or the red white and blue.”

Heading into her first games on English soil, Cheng recounts on her gold medal winning display at the European Aquatics Championships in Edinburgh as added motivation for this event.

“Having a home field advantage definitely helps, I remember competing in a European Championships in Edinburgh and with that crowd behind you it makes everything so much more enjoyable.

“It makes you really proud to represent your country and showcase to the public and try to get as many people as possible.”

We need more local clubs

Local clubs are important in nearly every divers career but Cheng told us the unfortunate story of how her first club has had to close.

“My first club in London has sort of closed because the facilities aren’t there.

“I know that in South London where my club used to be a lot less people are getting into it because the only pool in London is in East London and that is a really big commute.”

Cheng believes that bringing more clubs into the sport will make a big impact in getting more people involved.

“Having local clubs just allows more people to get involved and they’re really needed to help grow the sport.

“I think because diving has got lots of different skillsets it’s a really unusual sport.

“I didn’t really see it in a multi-sport games until London 2012 so having that exposure once again on diving can really showcase the sport in a positive light and bring people into it.”

Aiming for a medal

In what has been a strong season for Cheng, she headlined an exciting British Diving Championships, claiming gold and silver in the Women’s 10m Platform and the Women’s 10m Synchro respectively.

The gold medal was her first as an individual in a senior competition and she’s confident of improving more and more as the season goes on.

“Having those strong performances is good but I know there are things that I can still work on.

“With these major competitions being back it allows us to just make the fine tweaks to get stronger and stronger and having these events keeps everything more exciting.”

On her hopes for the games Cheng is hopeful for a medal to add to her impressive collection.

“Since this is one of my first individual competitions I think for me aiming for the final in that and in the synchro’s to aim for a medal, that’s my aims for these games.”

You can see Team England’s full diving squad here.

Photo credit Team England.