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Keeney breaks through for biggest win of diving career

16 July 2017

DIVING: Australia’s Maddison Keeney has broken through for the biggest win of her international diving career, winning 1-metre springboard gold at the 2017 World Championships in Budapest overnight.

An emotional Keeney fought back tears as she emerged from the pool after her final dive, knowing she had done enough to secure her first ever major gold medal.

The 21-year-old has long been regarded as one of the most talented divers in the world, but has often struggled with nerves, including at the last World Championships two years ago.

“It feels incredible, but also very relieving,” an elated Keeney said.

“To be honest I was relieved as soon as I did my hurdle on the board, because I have a lot of bad memories from two years ago that I want to overwrite.

“And so being able to put a performance on that I could be proud of was the most important thing.

“And I was hoping so much that I would finally be able to win this event after so many attempts.”

Fellow Australian Esther Qin finished seventh.

Keeney has a dive list which makes her the envy of the world’s best divers. In Saturday’s final, no other diver attempted a dive with a degree of difficulty of three or more.

Four of Keeney’s five dives were rated three or more, including her final dive of 3.2.

Keeney was sitting 10th in the 12-strong field after the opening round, her easiest dive of the competition.

She jumped to third after the second dive, and was in the lead after the third round. She dropped back to second with one dive to go, but her big final dive gave her a total of 314.95, with Russia’s Nadezhda Bazhina third on 304.70, and Italy’s Elena Bertocchi third on 296.40.

“It’s something I have been dreaming of for a long time, and so I hope I can use this as a stepping stone for my three metres,” Keeney said.

"I got very emotional at the end because my parents are here and they were really happy and proud. It was a great feeling being able to share these special moments with them.

“I’ve been training really well lately, so all I wanted to do was be able to put on a performance that I would be able to walk away with and be happy with, and I think I was able to do that for myself.

“It was a big twist for myself because I was diving last and had lots of pressure on me to do well due to my big list.

“But it was a great opportunity and learning experience because I will be able to apply the experience to my three metre competitions.”

In other results on Saturday, Melissa Wu and Domonic Bedggood finished seventh in the platform mixed synchro final, while Kevin Chavez and Matthew Carter finished 12th in the men’s 3-metre synchro.

Ross Solly
Diving Australia

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