DIVER Duran Omer was surprised as anyone to be crowned under-18 1m champion at the National Cup in Southend.
The 16-year-old saw off his rivals in stunning fashion to work his way on to the top of the medal rostrum.
And that made it a memorable weekend for the Southend Diving teenager who also competed against the sport’s superstar Tom Daley for the very first time.
“To win and get the gold medal was just incredible but I really wasn’t expecting it,” said Omer “I was mostly intending to use this for experience and I wanted to try and make some finals and get new personal bests scored.
“Getting a medal would’ve been a bonus, but to get the gold was better than I could ever have expected, so I’m delighted.
“I was quite nervous before it started but I settled down after my first dive and it all went really well.”
Omer’s score of 318.10 saw him finish sixth when combined with the senior divers, before he teamed up with club-mate Oliver Dingley to come fifth in the 3m synchro final. But Omer was not as pleased with his performance in that section.
“It had been a long day and I did a few good dives but it didn’t go as well as I would’ve hoped to be honest,” said the youngster.
“However, we’ve certainly learnt from it and I’m looking to push on from here now.”
The synchro final also saw Omer come up against Olympic bronze medalist Daley.
And that also delighted Omer, whose success came just three years after he was involved in a horrific road accident.
“I’ve been at the same events as Tom before but this was the first time I had competed against him and it was a good experience for me,” said Omer.
“It was quite overwhelming in a way but it was something I also enjoyed.”
Omer has now resumed training and is at his Garon Park base seven or eight times a week.
His next competition will be the Armada Cup which takes place in Plymouth later this month But his sights are already firmly set on succeeding at this summer’s National Championships.
“The Nationals are a big aim of mine and I want to try and start getting into the junior Great Britain squads,” said Omer.
“That’s what I’m working towards right now and long term, just like everyone else, my dream is to make the Olympics.
“But we’ll have to see how far my body takes me.”