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Harrow diver overcomes injuries and doubters to pursue Olympic dream

Harrow diver Kyle Kothari has defied the odds and silenced his doubters as he prepares to compete in the World Aquatics Championships in Japan. Despite enduring three devastating injuries since 2015, including two Achilles ruptures that dashed his hopes of participating in both the Rio and Tokyo Olympics, Kothari is determined to prove himself on the world stage.

Kothari, a silver medallist in the 2022 Commonwealth synchro event, will be making his World Championships debut in Fukuoka this month. His performance in the individual 10m platform event could secure a quota place for Paris 2024.

The 25-year-old athlete took a break from diving in 2021 after his second Achilles rupture and ventured into a career in finance. However, driven by his passion for the sport, Kothari made a remarkable comeback, defying the expectations placed upon him.

Harrow diver overcomes injuries and doubters to pursue Olympic dream Harrow Online
SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND – MAY 28: Noah Williams (L), Kyle Kothari (C) and Ben Cutmore of Dive London Aquatics Club pose for a selfie with their medals following the Mens Platform, Final during Day Four of the British Diving Championships 2023 at Ponds Forge on May 28, 2023 in Sheffield, England. (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)

Reflecting on his journey, Kothari shared, “At that point in 2021 with my injury, I thought diving was done for me. I don’t know anyone else who has gone through two ruptured Achilles and still stuck at it.” He acknowledged the doubts expressed by those around him, but with the encouragement of his coach, Dave Jenkins, and his father, he decided to give it another shot. Kothari expressed his determination, stating, “I’ve been injury-free this year, and I’m excited to see where I’m able to take it now and see what can happen if I stay fit.”

Having triumphed in the Commonwealth Games alongside Lois Toulson, and emerging as a double European Champion in the men’s and mixed synchro pairings in Rome last year, Kothari has transitioned from synchro to the individual 10m platform event. The switch presents new challenges, including the added pressure of competing alone.

Reflecting on the change, Kothari admitted, “Synchro is less pressure than individual, so I miss having Ben Cutmore by my side and having that banter together.” However, he has dedicated himself to individual training since September, becoming accustomed to the solitude and managing the heightened pressure that comes with competing alone.

Despite the challenges he has faced, Kothari remains motivated by the exhilaration of competition. He said, “I always tell people that training is not fun, it’s hard work and boring a lot of the time, but those moments like Europeans in Rome make all of it worth it.” The support of his parents, who were moved to tears at the Commonwealth Games, and the joy of celebrating his achievements with them continue to fuel his passion for diving.

As Kothari heads to Fukuoka, he not only aims to secure a spot in the Olympics but also hopes to contribute to British Diving’s success. Following their impressive six-medal haul at the World Championships in Budapest last year, he aspires to make his mark on the international stage.

Harrow diver overcomes injuries and doubters to pursue Olympic dream Harrow Online
Britain’s Kyle Kothari (Top) and Ben Cutmore compete in the Men’s Diving synchronised platform final event, on August 19, 2022 during the LEN European Aquatics Championships in Rome. (Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP) (Photo by FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP via Getty Images)

British Swimming, the national governing body for various aquatic sports, including diving, has urged fans to support their divers and athletes at the World Championships in Fukuoka. Fans can follow their journey on Instagram and Twitter @britishswimming or visit www.britishswimming.org for updates.