Eden Cheng looking to ‘enjoy the moment’ at World Diving Championships

Eden Cheng wants to ‘enjoy the moment’ as she lines up as part of Great Britain’s diving team for the FINA World Aquatics Championships.

The eight-day diving competition takes place inside the Duna Arena in Hungary and is the first time the event has taken place since 2019.

The 2022 World Championships is the benchmark diving competition in a packed year of events, less than 12 months on from a record-equalling medal haul for Britain’s divers at the Olympic Games.

Great Britain won three medals at the 2020 Olympics, the same number they won at the last World Championships in Gwanju where they picked up one silver and two bronze medals.

Britain’s 14-strong team has a good mix of youth and experience with seven divers making their World Championships debuts alongside those with both Olympic and Worlds experience.

Teenager and Tokyo 2020 Olympian Cheng is competing in her second World Championships after being part of Britain’s synchro teams in 2019.

This year she has the opportunity to compete as an individual and she is looking forward to showcasing her talent on the world stage.

She said: “This is my first worlds being an individual diver and I think it’s also my first big competition as an individual because for the last few years I have been part of the synchro team.

“So for me, it’s about gaining experience on such a big stage and not having too high expectations for myself because it is my first time.

“I just want to enjoy the moment and whatever happens, happens.”

The crowd give me that ‘extra bit of adrenaline’

Cheng, a European gold medallist, is excited to be a part of the squad and to be back competing internationally.

She said: “It’s really exciting to be part of such an incredible squad with lots of debutants and experienced veterans on the team.

“It’s a great squad to be a part of and we are really excited to be back competing internationally with a big audience as well.

“Just to be back on the world circuit and to see all the strong performances of everyone around the world is really exciting and it’s incredible to be a part of such an amazing team.”

After a difficult few years, Cheng believes having a large crowd back will make a huge difference and thinks it will give her an extra edge in the competition.

She added: “It’s going to be strange at first but there’s been some spectators at a couple of the national events which was a good step heading into the bigger competitions.

“Just having that atmosphere back and having supporters in the stands lets us know that people do appreciate the sport.

“It’s been quite hard recently because there hasn’t been physical people and, for an athlete, it’s quite daunting not knowing how many people are watching.

“I think having people there gives you that extra bit of adrenaline and it makes the competition a lot more enjoyable in general.”

The team is ‘like my second family’

At 19-years old, Cheng is still in the early stages of her career and is thankful for the family feeling within the squad, allowing her to take the experience from those around her.

“It’s a great feeling around the squad,” she said. “I’ve been travelling with this team for a while and they’re like my second family.

“I think also having those top worlds medallists, Olympic champions, Olympic medallists, just having their stories and advice is just amazing.

“I get to train alongside them. To just learn little pointers from them is exhilarating and exciting to be a part of.”

Entering her second World Championships, Cheng shared her advice to the members of the squad that are set to make their debut in Budapest.

“I think my advice would be to enjoy yourself,” she said. “Soak it in and don’t be afraid because you earned your spot on this team and you are meant to be here.

“I think when I made my debut, the pressure I put on myself was me thinking ‘am I really supposed to be here?’

“But for those that are here for the first time, just know that you got here in your own right so just go out and enjoy it.

“You’re diving alongside your diving heroes, your role models, so just have fun and relax would be my message to them.”

The diving events close out the FINA World Aquatics Championships and run from Sunday 26 June to Sunday 3 July.