Sheffield diver Freddie Woodward out to improve on 2014 Commonwealth bronze on Gold Coast next year

Freddie Woodward at  Ponds Forge. Photo Marisa Cashill
Freddie Woodward at Ponds Forge. Photo Marisa Cashill

An ankle sprain will not change Freddie Woodward’s plans for 2018 after the Sheffield diver stated his ambitions to improve on a Commonwealth Games bronze medal from 2014.

The 22-year-old sustained the injury in training recently but does not think it will hamper his preparations for next season’s Commonwealth Games and European Championships.

Woodward won bronze in the 3m synchronised springboard alongside Nicholas Robinson-Baker at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, and matched that feat with James Heatly at this year’s European Championships.

But with an Olympic Games under his belt, Woodward is now striving for higher podium places in major championships.

“I was at the last Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and we got a medal there and that was an unbelievable experience – I’d love to represent England at Gold Coast, that would be wicked and it’s in my sights,” said Woodward, who last weekend participated in Birmingham’s Cannon Hill parkrun as a tail-walker.

“The annoying thing is now’s the time to train really hard and all of my peers are grinding out really important work, which I still think I can do with a bad ankle but legs are important in diving.

“I don’t think it’s a horrendous sprain but obviously ankles are quite important in a sport where you do lots of jumping.

“The good thing about diving is that it’s linear – I’m not twisting or turning with my feet on the ground like in football.

“I’ll strap up my ankle really tightly and I’ll give it a go – I just have to get to the stage first where I can walk more comfortably.”

With the Commonwealth Games in April and the European Championships in August, Woodward will have to peak twice next season.

And while he admits his injury is not ideal, the timing could have been a lot worse.

“I was doing a plyometrics workout and I very foolishly landed on one of the hurdles I was jumping over,” he added.

“It’s kind of a good time to have an injury like this because it’s the off-season.

“It’s not great, but better to have it now than between the two events next year – that time will be about keeping things ticking over into the European championships in Glasgow and working on consistency and confidence.

“I came away with a bronze medal at the Europeans this year which is something I was really proud of.

“I’ll try and bring the confidence of having won a medal before into my performances and we’ll see what happens, but fingers crossed.”

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