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China to launch pro diving league

February 17, 2009 13:02 IST

Diving powerhouse China will launch the sport's first professional league before the end of the year, as it seeks to capitalise on the success and celebrity of its near-invincible Olympic team, local media said on Tuesday.

The league is likely to kick off with a two-week stint in December and foreign divers would be invited to take part, China's head diving coach, Zhou Jihong, told Xinhua news agency.

"I am aware of the various challenges, such as sponsorship, venues and promotion ... But the new diving league will definitely debut at the end of this year," Zhou said.

Chinese mastery on the platform and the springboard saw the hosts snare seven out of eight titles at last August's Beijing Games and top-flight divers rank among the country's best paid and most famous athletes.

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