Diving 3 meters | The hard learning of Cedric Fofana

(Tokyo) From the divers show, his heart raced and his legs began to tremble. Cedric Fofana never recovered.




Simon Darwin

Simon Darwin
Journalism

A surprise guest on the Canadian national team, the would-be 17-year-old suffered a real setback on his Olympic debut, finishing the preliminaries for the 3-meter in 29.NS And last place, more than 60 points from its nearest competitor.

Paralyzed by the scale of the event, the Quebec teenager got a score of 0 due to a dive failure in the fourth round, and a three-and-a-half flip was unable to perform after a bad jump.Call. He did really flat on his back.

In short, it was a day to forget Fofana, who obviously would have preferred to live a different kind of experience even if he didn’t have a specific goal.

“It’s not what I was expecting at all, it’s been a month since the practices are going well, as if they were really good,” he said noticeably coldly after his collapse. “At the training camp in Toronto, and here afterwards, I was very satisfied almost every day with what I was doing. Definitely going to start my Olympic ‘dream’ this way, it’s a bit disappointing. I’m sure there will be others.”

“so nervous”

Fofana still looks relaxed during the warm-up, smiling at a diver’s banter with a volunteer. But his nerves waned before the start of the competition, which was held at the Tokyo Aquatics Center on Monday afternoon.

His hesitation on the first dive, a precarious weakness and half back, was palpable. It was his best.

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“I was nervous. Looks like I wasn’t just a gang to put that aside and tell myself there are five left and let’s move on. I think it will come with time on the international circuit.”

The second youngest diver at 3 meters behind Mexican Osmar Olvera Ibarra (9NS), Quebec won the Canadian Olympic Trials at the end of June in Toronto.

His talent is evident from a young age. Said Danny Boulanger, one of his first coaches at ARO de Quebec, who was contacted by phone before a competition.

At the age of 13 and a half, Fofana left to train at the National Institute of Sports at the Olympic Stadium, under the leadership of Cesar Henderson. In 2018, he won a bronze medal in the 3-meter sprint at the World Junior Championships in the 14-15 class, a Canadian first since Alexandre Despaty, who scored a hat-trick in 2002.

Three months later on Sunday, Jennifer Abel emphasized the “wonderful presence” of her teammate and the “wonderful worker” that she exudes. “He’s a diver who’s going to go far,” said the two-time Olympic medalist.

At the end of the event, which was dominated by the Chinese, Fofana received a big hug from Quebec Italian Sarah Godwin di Maria.

She told me to cry if I wanted to. To let it go, to live in the moment. To learn and keep moving forward. ”

“our fault”

One thing is for sure, Fofana will have to get back to the drawing board. After the competition ended, the Diving Canada coach didn’t go into four ways to describe his performance: “embarrassing.”

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“He has no way of embellishing reality: It was embarrassing for him, it was embarrassing for us, that’s Mitch Geller said. But the fault wasn’t his fault, it was our fault. He wasn’t ready for this competition.”

The manager points out that his organization should take up its “responsibilities” and identify what led to this poor performance. “This in no way reflects his talent. He is one of the most talented young divers that Canada has ever seen. What makes it especially tragic for him to learn of this experience at the Olympics.”

Geller insisted that Fofana “must understand that he did what he was asked.” Technical work and emotional management are two aspects that must be strengthened in an athlete to avoid fluctuations in his performance. Without adjusting everything, given his young age.

“He should realize the huge potential that he has. You just have to add the elements that will give him the desired stability. Because he has strength, speed and flexibility.”

Geller wants to give him the time to get there, even if it means not bringing him back into the competition by then.

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