Thu, Apr 12, 2018 - Page 16 News List

Botched dive sees Aussies win gold

AFP, GOLD COAST, Australia

Australia’s Anabelle Smith and Maddison Keeney yesterday compete in the Commonwealth Games women’s 3m synchro springboard final at the Optus Aquatic Centre in Gold Coast, Australia.

Photo: AFP

Australia’s Esther Qin and Georgia Sheehan yesterday snatched the women’s 3m synchro springboard gold after a rival Aussie pair crashed from first place to last with a disastrous final dive at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in Australia.

Qin and Sheehan jumped from fourth to the top of the standings with their inward two-and-a-half somersaults last dive to clinch the gold with a total of 284.10 points.

England’s Alicia Blagg and Katherine Torrance took silver with 276.90 points, with Malaysia’s Leong Mun Yee and Nur Dhabitah Sabri getting the bronze with 264.90 points.

The competition, beset by windy conditions and technical difficulties in the outdoor pool, turned dramatically in the fifth and final round.

Australia’s Maddison Keeney and Anabelle Smith were leading, but bombed out of contention with a botched forward two-and-a-half somersaults with two twists dive, which earned them no points and left them in seventh and last position.

Glasgow Games springboard champions Qin and Sheehan seized their opportunity with a 71.10 scoring final dive to zoom to the top of the standings.

“Everyone’s in the same boat, everyone’s diving in the same conditions, it’s just who can deal with them the best — which today happened to be us, which is really exciting,” Sheehan said. “But our team managers had us prepped so well and getting us to use that home advantage to get the gold today.”

A teary Keeney, who lost control of her dive and landed awkwardly, ending her team’s medal chances, put on a brave face afterward.

“It was all over the shop for everyone with all the delays and technical stuff going on which was stress we didn’t need,” said Keeney, the world 1m springboard champion. “It was an interesting day for everyone, obviously I don’t think anyone can say they dived well, but we’ve come out the other end. It was a tough day.”

Blagg, who won the Commonwealth gold in the event at Glasgow with Rebecca Gallantree in 2014, said they were testing conditions for all the divers.

“We worked really hard and it was tough to see our big rivals dropping out. It was windy and cooler, but you have to keep yourself together,” Blagg said.

The Malaysian pair was thrilled to get an unexpected bronze medal.

“Actually from the start of this event I didn’t think I could get a medal because it’s a tough fight from Canada, Australia and England, so all I can do is just do my best,” Sabri said. “I didn’t do well in the last dive, but I still got a medal and I’m very happy for it.”

The divers also had to contend with a breakdown in the electronic scoring system, which forced the judges to resort to manual scoring.

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