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Diver Despatie receives conditional Olympic spot

Despite a broken right foot that has kept him out of action for nearly two months, diver Alexandre Despatie was conditionally placed on the Olympic team Tuesday by Diving Canada.

Despite a broken right foot that has kept him out of action for nearly two months, diver Alexandre Despatie was conditionally placed on the Olympic team Tuesday by Diving Canada.

Canada's diving body announced it is putting Despatie on the Olympic team as a three-metre solo competitor, and also as part of the synchronized springboard event with partner Arturo Miranda.

The announcement was made after the native of Laval, Que., was forced to withdraw from the Canadian diving trials June 20-22 in Victoria, because he is still recovering from his injury.

Tuesday's decision means Despatie can now devote all his attention to his recovery.

"Without this announcement, it would have put me in a situation where I would have had to rush all of my preparation, training and rehab," Despatie told CBCSports.ca.

"It would have been a huge risk for me to get injured again. Knowing I'm on the team now is great, and I can focus on the next 65 days of training heading to Beijing. That's my final objective."

Despatie and Miranda's nominations are set with several conditions, the most important requirement being that Despatie must receive a clean bill of health once the diving squad is announced on July 14 in order to qualify for the Olympics.

However, the former three-time world champion and 2004 Olympic silver medallist has no doubt he will be ready when the Olympic team is named.

"I'm more than confident that I'll have a clean bill of health at that point," he said. "My foot keeps getting better every day. It's 95 per cent healed and the only pain I feel right now are muscular, which is normal. The soreness comes with reactivating all of muscles and the movements that I'm use to doing. It's nothing that I have to be worried about."

The news of Despatie's absence in Victoria will affect the other divers in the competition.

"At the trials, the diver who wins the men's three-metre event will receive second-place qualification points for Olympic team nomination and the second-place finisher will receive third place qualification points," Diving Canada said through a statement.

"As per the original selection criteria, which allows for alternates, the third-ranked qualifier will be named as an alternate to the team. Canada has earned two spots on men's three-metre for the Olympics."

Rehab going well

In early April, Despatie broke the long bone connecting to his little toe moments before a training session at Montreal's Olympic pool.

During the soccer portion of the warmup — a normal practice regimen for Despatie and some of his teammates — the three-time world champion was loosening up on a mat by the pool when he took a nasty fall and heard a crack in his foot.

The prognosis for such an injury usually is a recovery period of four to six weeks, and Despatie has sought out prominent specialist Igor Burdenko during his rehabilitation.

Using cutting-edge laser therapy to expedite the healing process, Burdenko has also devised a customized workout routine specifically designed for the young Canadian. Despatie began diving again last week and admits his foot is getting stronger.

"Every day I'm doing a bit better," he said. "I'm keeping up with the training and I'm starting to do more dives."

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