World Junior Diving Championships10 October 2012
DIVING: Olympic medallists Brittany Broben and Tom Daley headline a sensational group of young divers from around the world who are in Adelaide for the 19th FINA World Junior Diving Championships from October 8-13. Catch all of the action here:
The first day of competition for the 19th FINA World Junior Diving Championship has produced some fantastic results from young divers, including a Bronze medal for Australian Darcy Taylor.
In the 3m, Britain’s Jack Laugher cruised into a gold medal position. This is the same event he won two years ago at the 2010 World Junior Diving Championships in Tucson, Arizona.
But Taylor kept a steady head and was never far away from the podium during his dives. The current National Champion clinched the bronze with a forward two and a half somersault with two twists on his final dive.
The girls 1m was the first event of the day, with Australia's Olympic silver medallist Brittany Broben a strong favourite alongside Italian Elena Bertoccki. Broben placed third in the preliminary round, led at the start of the finals and ended with a final score of 398.25. The event was the most hotly contested of the World Juniors so far, with only seven points separating gold medal winner Liu Jiao, fellow Chinese diver Chen Yaqi and Broben who nailed the bronze.
China continued to display their strength, coming first and second in the girls B platform event with Si Yajie and Lian Jie. Australia’s Lara Tarvit narrowly missed out on a podium place, coming fourth with a back two and a half somersault with one and a half twists as a final dive.
The teenage crowd arrived in force soon after the end of the school day for Tuesday's final event. This was the first showing of British teen sensation Tom Daley in a rare synchronised 3m performance. Daley and diving partner Laugher led from the start to comfortably take gold, edging out Russia’s Ilia Kuzmin and Maxim Popkov.
Wednesday turns up the excitement an extra notch, with a special signing appearance from Tom Daley. In addition to the boys B 1m and girls A 3m events, hundreds of young fans are expected to flock to the South Australian Aquatic and Leisure Centre for the brief opportunity for a photograph and autograph with Daley.
Yang Hao (Gold) and Tai Xiahu (Silver) were early favourites in the Boys B 1 metre event, making up for their tiny physique with precision and grace. Their near perfect execution of each of their four dives was enough to keep Colombian hopeful Alejandro Arias in third position.
Arias jumped from fifth place after the preliminary round to third in the finals with consistent scores of sixes and sevens and a high degree of difficulty for his optional dives. In contrast, Yang Hao (Gold) and Tai Xiaohu (Silver) completed easier dives but scored big with technical perfection.
Victoria’s Josh Kehagias narrowly missed out on a medal, placing only 1.25 points behind Arias.
Another Chinese victory was expected for the Girls A 3 metre, until early leader Zheng Qulin missed her final dive – a forward two and a half somersault with one twist – and had to settle for second place.
Gracia Laydon Mahoney scored the United States Of America’s first medal of the event in style, jumping from eight place in the preliminary round to a Gold Medal. The boisterous American crowd roared support after each round and was particularly ecstatic for her final dive, a spectacular reverse one and a half somersaults with two and a half twists.
British diver and London Olympian rounded out the medals with consistently impressive scores. With a high degree of difficulty in all her finals dives, she outscored her competitors who were hot on her heels to take third. Starling narrowly missed the finals of the individual 3 metre event at the London Olympics by one point. At an interview just after today’s medal ceremony, Starling said that “It was a great feeling to be on the other side of that 1 point this time”.
The competition was blown wide open during the fourth day of the 19th FINA World Juniors Diving Championships, with several upsets and plenty of drama to keep everyone guessing.
In the Boys B Platform event, Chinese diver Li Pingan stormed through the Preliminaries and was set to claim a Gold Medal until he came down from his handstand on his first dive incurring a two point deduction from all judges.
Pingan clawed his way back with the remaining dives to take second place behind fellow countrymen Tai Xiaohu, who scored between eights and nines on every dive. The United States of America’s David Dinsmore rounded out the medals with a thrilling back two and a half somersault one and a half twist from his final dive.
The Boys A 1 metre was a star-studded event packed with current World Juniors medallists vying for the top spot. A Silver Medallist on Wednesday’s Boys A 3 metre final, China’s Peng Jianfeng executed an almost flawless set of dives to take 1 metre Gold. His fourth round dive – losing points for coming too close to the board – opened the door for Great Britain’s Jack Laugher. But Laugher failed to capitalise on the opportunity and missed his dive in the same round.
Michael Hixon from Team USA rounded out the medalists with an ambitious list of five final dives. His final dive – an inward two and a half somersault tuck – was brilliant, landing without a splash to squeeze Australia’s Darcy Taylor out of medal contention.
The last event of the day, the Girls A & B 3 metre Synchro, was a three-way battle between the Chinese, Russian and British teams. Despite a few moments of being slightly out of synch in their forward approaches, team China walked away with the win thanks to their third round reverse two and a half somersaults spike, scoring up to 9’s from the judges for their synchronization.
The British duo of Hannah Starling and Alicia Blagg – both London 2012 Olympians – saved the best for last with a backward two and a half somersault pike. Earning good points individually and for synchronisation, this was enough to leap past the Russians for the Silver Medal. Australian pair, Lara Tarvit and Emily Boyd, finished in 5th place with less than 3 points behind the Bronze medallists.
In the Girls A Platform, Brittany Broben secured her second bronze medal of the meet. Broben burst onto the world stage with a fantastic final set of dives at the London Olympics to win a silver medal in the Women’s 10 metre Platform event. Brittany was also the Silver medallist at the 2010 World Junior Championships in Tucson.
FINA and Olympics.com.au