Victoria Boardworks trio dive into the Birmingham Games

BIRMINGHAM, England — Nearly three decades after the last javelin was thrown, the flywheel shattered and the pedal depressed, the repercussions of the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Victoria are still being felt by the Canadian team here at the 2022.

BIRMINGHAM, England — Nearly three decades after the last javelin was thrown, the flywheel shattered and the pedal depressed, the repercussions of the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Victoria are still being felt by the Canadian team here at the 2022.

94 Forward, which administers the Victoria Games Legacy Fund of over $20 million, helps fund the triathletes, middle-distance runners and cyclists who represent Canada around the world. The swimmers who won 20 medals, including seven gold, at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham all passed the Canadian Trials held in April at Saanich Commonwealth Place.

This legacy facility from the 1994 Games also creates ripples in the diving pool with three members of the Victoria Boardworks Club competing for Canada at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. Tokyo Olympian Celina Toth is joined here at the Games by Boardworks teammates Bryden Hattie and Renée Batalla. Toth competes in the women’s 10-metre and 10-metre synchro events, Hattie in the men’s one-metre, three-metre and three-metre synchro events and Batalla in the women’s 10-metre.

“I feel like they are my great divers and I’ve been very proud of them since I started the Boardworks Club as a legacy of the Victoria Games,” said Boardworks founder Mitch Geller, now Technical Director of Diving Canada.

The ages of the Boardworks trio range from Games rookie Batalla, 15, to Olympian Toth, 30.

“It’s great to have three divers from our club at the Commonwealth Games, especially a new face like Renée [Batalla]“, said Toth.

“It’s weird to be the oldest and most veteran leader now. When I get on the boards in front of those big Games crowds, I feel like a rookie just like Renee.

It’s a big step up from the junior ranks for Batalla.

“It’s great to get experience with such top athletes,” said the Victoria teenager, who has gone from a surprise Canadian Trials qualifier at Saanich Place to a name to watch now.

“These are the biggest crowds I have seen in my life. But I just cut it,” Batalla said, calm and composed beyond her years.

This could be the start of a very special journey for the young islander: “It would be incredible to do the Paris 2024 Olympics at 17. But if I miss them, I believe I will do Los Angeles 2028.”

Says Geller of her emerging potential prodigy: “Renee’s talent is unwavering and she just breaks through.”

Hattie, 21, arrives at the Commonwealth Games after winning the 2022 NCAA Division 1 bronze medal in the men’s 10-meter this spring with the University of Tennessee Volunteers and finished eighth to start the Games in the men’s springboard. one meter on Thursday and is aiming for the podium in his other events from today to Monday.

“Having three Boardworks divers competing globally here in Birmingham is so cool and says a lot about our club,” said the Claremont Secondary graduate.

“There is a real sense of family at Boardworks.”

Boardworks head coach Tommy McLeod is an assistant coach for Canada at the Games.

“It ruined our summer in the most awesome way,” he said with a laugh.

“We believe in teaching the basic movements and fundamentals of diving at Boardworks and these act as building blocks.”

This trio can go from Birmingham to Paris.

With much of the golden generation of Canadian divers, who have been reliable medal producers at the Olympics and Commonwealth Games, now retired, a new group is being developed that has produced the gold, l silver and bronze so far in Birmingham, with the dip continuing through Monday.

“We don’t see it as a rebuild – just a transition to the next wave,” Geller said.

In a highly anticipated Canadian event today, women’s 10-metre bronze medalist Caeli McKay of Calgary teams up with No. 6 individual Toth to win gold in the 10-metre synchro.

More than 50 Islander or Islander athletes are taking part in the Commonwealth Games Birmingham in 2022, including hammer thrower Adam Keenan of Victoria, a podium favorite, today at Alexander Stadium. The Games run until the closing ceremony on Monday.

Australia top the medal table with 140, followed by host England with 131 and third-placed Canada with 67.

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