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Despatie back with a vengeance March 19, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Sports.

Popular Canadian diver Alexandre Despatie continued his comeback from a serious neck injury on Saturday with the reigning 1m and 3m world champion reporting a clean bill of health after training at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre.

Despatie competed in the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, where he picked up three gold medals, but was then forced to sit out the rest of the year after being diagnosed with the injury in May.

“I’m happy with how I’m doing, my neck is going well, I’m taking care of it. The treatment is going right and there’s no pain,” Despatie said. “This is my first international competition outside of the Commonwealth Games, and having not competed for almost a year, it felt like I didn’t belong here, but I’m feeling really comfortable. Right now I have had more training than ever before and I’m very comfortable with my dives and how I feel (in the pool).”

Despatie is confident of his medal chances in Melbourne, but admits he will face stiff competition as he attempts to defend his titles.

“I always go into it (the dive) not thinking about the medal. But I feel good with training and I feel good with everything, and if I can keep that up everything should go well,” he said. “The 3m is very open. China of course have always been dominant. Australia also has a strong team, but by now some of them (the more experienced divers) have retired but they still have a good young team. The 3m is more of an event for me, although I still do the 10m simply because I like it. I love competing in the 10m and I love diving in the 10m.”

Having shot to prominence after winning the gold medal in the 10m platform event at the 1998 Commonwealth Games as a 13-year-old, Despatie has become something of a celebrity in his home country and shot his first feature film in August last year.

Despatie embraces his responsibility as a positive role model for youngsters and his popularity within the Canadian team has seen him nominated to carry his nation’s flag during the opening ceremony.

“It’s a great honour and it’s good to have someone young do it as the people who usually carry the flag are older and maybe on their way out, but I don’t think I’m on my way out,” he said.

Related Links > http://www.melbourne2007.com.au

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