Everyone’s Game at Diving World Juniors
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.
Friday marks the second last day of competition, and even the most seasoned diving professionals must be re-thinking predictions after today’s events. The Australian team have pinned their hopes on two Josh’s – Josh Ong from Western Australia and Joshua Kehagias from Victoria. Narrowly missing out on a podium place during Wednesday’s Boys B 1 metre, Kehagias will be looking to lift his game against Great Britain’s Matty Lee and Russia’s Ilia Molchanov.
Of course, the main event of the day will be the Girls A Platform, with Australian Olympian under pressure to claim victory. 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 and will be aiming for Gold at the 2012 event in Adelaide.
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