Redemption for Australia’s Keeney with springboard gold
BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) Maddison Keeney of Australia produced a brilliant final dive to beat Nadezhda Bazhina of Russia to the women’s 1-meter springboard title and make up for past disappointment at the world swimming championships on Saturday.
Bazhina had taken over the lead from Keeney going into the final round but the Australian finished with a flourish – nailing a forward 2-1/2 somersaults with one twist – for 314.95 points to beat the Russian by 10.25 and claim her first gold medal.
Nerves got the better of Keeney at the worlds in Kazan, Russia, in 2015, when she flunked her final dive and blew any chance of a podium place, but there was no such embarrassment this time.
”I wanted to redeem myself. I didn’t need to doubt myself. I didn’t need to think about what happened in the past because I knew that all the training, all the hard work I’d done, would pay off,” Keeney said. She called her parents afterward, fighting back tears.
European champion Elena Bertocchi of Italy won bronze with 296.40, ahead of China’s Chen Yiwen and Russia’s Maria Polyakova.
China failed to make the podium in women’s 1-meter springboard at the worlds for the first time since 2003.
Ilia Zakharov and Evgenii Kuznetsov of Russia claimed the men’s 3-meter springboard synchronized diving title with a fine forward 4-1/2 somersaults tuck to snatch the win from Xie Siyi and Cao Yuan of China.
The Russian pair finished with 450.30 points, 6.9 ahead of Xie and Cao, who had been leading from the start.
China, which had won the event at eight of the last nine worlds, missed out on gold for the first time since 2003.
Oleg Kolodiy and Illya Kvasha of Ukraine claimed bronze on 429.99, while Olympic champions Jack Laugher and Chris Mears of Britain missed out by finishing fourth.
Earlier, Ren Qian and Lian Junjie won the mixed 10-meter synchronized diving title for China’s first gold of the worlds.
Ren and Lian, who won all four meets at the Diving World Series this season, produced a near flawless performance to rank first after each of the five dives for a total of 352.98.
The 16-year-old Lian became the first man born after Jan. 1, 2000 to win a diving medal at the worlds.
Britain’s Matthew Lee and Lois Toulson took silver with 323.28.
”China was far ahead,” Lee said. ”They have very good divers. Maybe one day we will be able to catch them.”
Kim Mi-rae and Hyon Il-myong won bronze for North Korea with 318.12 points.
Russia’s Viktor Minibaev and Yulia Timoshinina were fourth, followed by Canada’s Nathan Zsombor-Murray and Meaghan Benfeito.
At 14, Zsombor-Murray is the youngest competitor in diving at the championships.
”It’s really an honor,” Zsombor-Murray said. ”I’m super happy.”
This story has been corrected to show China won silver in 3-meter springboard synchronized diving, Ukraine bronze.