DIVER Duran Omer was once told he would never dive again after being hit by a car and needing surgery to reconstruct his face.
But three years on, 16-year-old Duran, from Southend, has won a gold medal at the British Junior Diving Championships.
Duran was 13 when he was hit by a car in Constable Way, Shoebury, walking out between two buses.
The accident completely shattered his top jaw, ripped the top layer of skin off his head, knocked out five teeth and damaged all the tissue in his elbow.
But, amazingly, Duran won gold in the recent one metre diving competition, alongside Olympic diver and TV celebrity Tom Daley, at Southend Diving Centre, Garon Park.
Duran, who is studying sport at South Essex College, said: “I don’t really think about the accident. I keep trying to look forwards.
“I got back into diving for a bit of fun and it all went from there.
“I’m still buzzing from the win. It’s so overwhelming. I didn’t expect it whatsoever.
I’m hoping to go on and I’m working towards the nationals at the moment.”
Mum Emma Omer said: “It’s amazing. He used to dive when he was younger.
“After the accident he wanted to dive, but the coach said no and his doctors said no way, so he had to just watch.
“Then he had a new doctor, who said he had to live his life. There was also a new coach, Damian Ball, who Duran nagged and nagged until he let him train a couple of hours a week. Nowhe trains 18 to 20 hours a week.”
Duran has put off having further surgery to give him bone grafts, metal plates and dental implants to strengthen his jaw bones.
The lengthy programme of operations and recovery would severely impact on his diving ambitions.
Mrs Omer said: “Diving could be his life. His jaw is very thin, but the new doctor said if it breaks he will mend it.
“He can have the surgery later. His goal now is to get into Team GB.
“The Southend Diving Club and his coach, Damian, have been so supportive.”