The Editor of sportstar.com caught up with Melissa Wu, champion diver, who won both a gold and a silver medal at the recent Commonwealth Games in Delhi. We met at the Sydney Aquatic Centre, Homebush. She is now back training, already, she never stops. Here’s what she had to say:
Ed: First of all, congratulations on the Commonwealth Games, we all sat up watching you, and were all really proud of you, even though you made us extremely tired! A gold and a silver medal, well done!
Mel: Thank you.
Ed: You are back in training, already! What are you training for now?
Mel: I am in training for the Nationals in December, which is a big event for me as it means I will qualify for the World Championships. And I get a break over Christmas so that is great. The World Championships are the benchmark for me next year.
Ed: Would you say that it is a bigger competition than the Commonwealth Games?
Mel: The World Championships are definitely a tougher competition as there are more athletes involved, but in terms of the support we get from Australia the Games get us a lot more publicity and media attention.
Ed: So how was it in Delhi? There was so much bad publicity before the Games, was it that bad or was that just a media beat up?
Mel: I think leading up to the Games there was a lot of negative media attention and speculation about it and I was a little worried going into it. We had a training camp in China first and from there we were getting updates from people from the Australian Commonwealth Games Association who were over there and they were basically saying that things were OK and they were fixing things up. By the time we got there things were fine. The pool was perfect. I was really surprised about that.
Ed: Do you have any rituals before competition? Preparation? Superstitions?
Mel: I am more relaxed going into competition now, I just try to enjoy the events. I think being in being in a place like Delhi and seeing what was around you was important too. I just enjoyed being there and also enjoyed all the opportunities around me compared to what else was going on in the world. I was proud of myself for being there but I consider myself lucky as there is so much else going on.
Ed: To hear a very focused sportsperson saying this is very encouraging. You are clearly a very a nice person, as well as being a great diver. So how long do you think you will be diving for? You are only 18 so where to from here?
Mel: I have been diving on the international circuit for 4 years now but I am focusing on London and will then have a think about how long I will go for.
Ed: Are you still studying?
Mel: I am studying off campus at the moment [Mel is studying journalism and communications]. But I am going on campus next year. I started diving so young so I missed out on a lot of the social aspects of life and would like to hang out with other 18 year olds and not talk about diving.
Ed: And I have to ask you about this, does it hurt when you land on your head in the water?
Mel: We grab our hands when we land in the water, but we may slip, this has happened on the odd occasion, and then yes it hurts. We train in the gym doing somersaults and all the things we need to do in the water. We train our bodies so they are ready to do all the things we do in the water. It becomes second nature so it is not so scary.
Ed: I am terrified of heights, I am deeply impressed and not sure how you do it!
Mel: Yeah, it’s not the safest thing! But we train a lot!
Ed: Obviously so much hard work goes into what you do? And you are in so in synch with Alex Croak, how do you get yourselves together?
Mel: It’s basically 1, 2, 3 go! And practising, practising.
Ed: What has been the proudest moment in your career?
Mel: I would say the Commonwealth Games. My result there [Mel won both a gold and a silver medal] was a lot fun and it was a really good end to the international season. I had a really good year and enjoyed it. I worked very hard and enjoyed my diving. This year has been one big achievement.
Ed: Good luck for the Worlds and good luck for London. Sportstar.com will be following your progress closely!
Mel: Thank you very much