After claiming the Junior European title Crystal Palace Diving Club starlet Kyle Kothari insists he is in the middle of the best year of his life.

The 16-year-old shocked even himself when he came out on top of the pile at the Junior European Championships in Bergamo, Italy, last month.

And Kothari had a double reason to celebrate as his success also secured his place at next month’s World Junior Championships in Russia where he hopes to repeat the trick.

With one dive to go in Italy Kothari knew exactly what he had to do to secure a spot on the podium.

And the Dr Challoner’s High School pupil admits he had to battle the nerves and remember his training to make sure he went away with a medal around his neck.

“It was amazing because I wasn’t really expecting to do so well if I’m honest,” he said.

“All the other guys probably weren’t performing to their best and I thought if I dived to my best than I might be able to win.

“When I watching the competition I started to think more and more that if put in my best dive that I would have a chance.

“On my last dive I knew that I had to do really well to have a chance at winning and luckily I managed it.

“It was scary because I was up there knowing what I had to do so I just tried to stay calm and think about my training and do the same.

“After that I knew I was guaranteed silver which was already incredible but then I watched the other guy who could have won.

“That is the number one achievement of my career so far and now I have the chance to go to the worlds.”

The World Junior Championships will be Kothari’s biggest competition to date and he admits that it has all come around faster than he could have ever expected.

“I have upped my training from 24 hours a week to about 32 because I think my coach recognised that I was improving and could go further,” he added.

“So that’s paying off now and this is without doubt the best year of my career and I want to keep it going.

“Before this year I was thinking it would take me a few years before I could medal at the Europeans but it has come around so quickly.

“If I dive to my absolute best at the Worlds then there is an chance I can make the podium.

“And then hopefully I can make the step up to senior level at some point and then my goal is to make it the Olympics.”

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