Olga Kamardina, FINA correspondent in Ukraine

Two sets of medals highlighted Competition Day 6 of the 22nd FINA Junior Worlds in Kyiv, Ukraine. Boys of the group “B” gave an engaging performance in the 3m springboard, and “A-Girls” contested 9 Youth Olympic Games-2018 quotas on platform, alongside with the merits on offer. China again dominated operations, as podiums saw representatives of 2 other nations.

BOYS B 3M SPRINGBOARD

A new generation of world’s elite divers, aged 14 – 15, showcased their rising skills on the 3m springboard. Three new faces picked up medals, including two Asian-drilled. As a matter of fact, it all started unexpectedly and there was a surprise in store for the ever favorites China, as both their competitors, freshly crowned in Kyiv-2018, were placed lowly 5th and 7th in the prelims. Mexican Osmar Olvera Ibarra, Tyler Downs of America and Cedric Fofana were top-scoring during the morning session, and collected the first 3 trips to the 12-men final.

Photo: credit to Pavlo Kubanov

Boys B platform champion Zelin and 1m springboard leader Long bounced back in the afternoon session. However, they were too absorbed in the competition of their own, and did not notice an intruderer, which was Cedric Fofana of Canada to sneak ahead of them both on Round 3. He could have been competitive, having the strongest dives and the most complicated list on the final. But due to some psychological reasons, Fofana did not keep to the pace set and got down lowly 47.25 on his 4th attempt - Reverse 3.1 Somersaults tuck – just to be placed disappointingly third, 459.05.

“I love my list of dives, and it was consistent, - said Cedric Fofana of Canada. – The only dive I did badly today was reverse 3.5 Somersaults tuck on the last round of the final. I guess I was too emotional. This is my first Junior Worlds, and I am pretty happy I have ended it with a medal. I got inspired with this success, and hope to show even a better results in one week at the National Championships”.

Photo: credit to Pavlo Kubanov

As for the trend-setting Chinese, Long Daoyi was again victorious, with his argument ‘s power in action - Inward 3.5 Somersaults tuck. Receiving 74.80 points for the overall of 474.90, he celebrated another, 9th gold of the Asian powerhouse.

“I felt pressure, as there were a lot of strong divers in the competition, - commented the champion. – I did not track scoring of my opponents, as I never do, and this is why I had no clue if I was top-scoring or underscoring, and the win came to me as a surprise as well. This time it was more difficult to achieve, than in the 1m springboard, because here I felt more uncomfortable”.

Another Chinese prodigy Yao Zelin added to his yesterday’s win on platform, 3m springboard’s silver on 464.60 points, which was neither his personal best nor a pleasure for him.

“I wanted to win, to celebrate a gold haul, but the Reverse 2.5 Somersaults tuck turned out to be a thorn on my side. Maybe my wanting to win played a little trick with me. At practice I do it steadily well, I do not know, what exactly has gone wrong. I congratulate my compatriot on his gold, and hope, that our nation will keep on to the winning speed”.

GIRLS A PLATFORM

Photo: credit to Pavlo Kubanov

German Elena Wassen did not defend her Girls A 10m gold earned in Kazan, 2 years ago. The 2016 junior champion was simply a good challenge for the rookies of China. Lin Shan first headed into the final round just to see her teammate Zhang Rui atop of the afternoon session. Rui turned out to be top-scoring in each round except the 4th, and there was no doubts as to her eventual win. Her best scoring dive came on round 2, assuming 80.00 points for the overall total of 488.70.

“My win was never a goal, I did my dives, trying to show my best, - confessed Zhang Rui of China. - I was lowly 8th here in Kyiv in my previous event, Girls A 1m springboard. It goes without saying, that I was very disappointed with the result and even depressed by the ranking position. I badly needed to return face and I am very happy I have done it right”.

Lin Shan did not produce anything special, but was very consistent. Having no major faults on the elements' execution and entries into the water, she comfortably finished on second, 35 points to the winner, 453.20 points.

“I am not very much pleased with the result, to be honest, - commented Lin Shan. - I have been training hard, but could not show my best diving. I would need to improve the Inward 3.5 Somersaults tuck, which had been a little better in practice. There is a much food for analyses, and will look to draw conclusions out of them”.

Photo: credit to Pavlo Kubanov

As for the experienced German, Elena Wassen did almost well. Her scores never dipped below 60 points, but for the last round, where she got just 59.20. It was a door left open for the chasers, and Iana Satina of Russia got her chance flying on the Back 2.5 Somersaults 1.5 Twists pike, 72.00. Her total reached 425.90 points, which was enough to win bronze.

“I could not expect I would climb up the podium today, - said Iana Satina of Russia. – I happened to see some results on the scoreboard during the contest, and it is likely to drive me forward, giving additional motivation. I am very grateful to my clever coaches Svetlana and Vladimir Timoshinin. I owe them both my skills and my sports character, which was the key in the bronze earned”.

An annoing incident was a part of the final round, which certainly had an impact on the competition’s run for Sofia Lyskun. The local hope ranked second at the 21st FINA World Junior Diving Championships in Kazan 2 years ago, and was hot ready to show her best on the home soil. However, she was distressed and embarrassed at the set-out. It all happened when she was getting ready for her Inward 3.5 Somersaults tuck on round 2. Sofia came up to the edge of the platform, had a look down and got focused. Assuming the Armstand Back position, she heard a cry at the grandstands and was forced to repeat her actions anew. She got back concentrated, performed the dive and appealed to the judges. She got the second chance, but was too distressed to show her best. Astonishing was to see the accident repeated on the next round. Young Ukrainian did not give up though and completed her program as best as she could. However, overall received was not competitive, 375.95, and the home favorite finished as far as 7th.

Photo: credit to Pavlo Kubanov

22nd FINA World Junior Diving Championships is being held at the state of the art LIKO Sport Center and will hit the tape on Sunday, 29 July. At two days left in the competition, overall chart sees China on top with an impressive 10 – 8 – 1 record. Canada and Russia got one bronze apiece, improving their medals tally to 2 and 4 pieces respectively. There are 2 events on the program for the Competition Day 7: Boys A/B platform synchro and Girls B 3m springboard. Preliminaries will get launched at 09:00 in the morning, followed by the finals scheduled to kick off at 16:30.

Competition results. 22nd FINA World Junior Diving Championships. Day 6

Boys B 3m springboard

1. Long Daoyi (CHN) 474.90, 2. Yao Zelin (CHN) 464.60, 3. Fofana Cedric (CAN) 459.05, 4. Olvera Ibarra Osman (MEX) 458.60, 5. Konovalov Danylo (UKR) 434.60, 6. Downs Tyler (USA) 427.20, 7. Borowski Manuel (USA) 423.20, 8. Malofeef Maksim (RUS) 422.25, 9. Humphreys Tyler (GBR) 419.40, 10. Kachanov Viatcheslav (RUS) 414.65, 11. Munoz Heredia Kevin Alexander (MEX) 410.40, 12. Ikuma Senri (JPN) 393.30.

Girls A platform

1. Zhang Rui (CHN) 488.70, 2. Lin Shan (CHN) 453.20, 3. Satina Iana (RUS) 425.90, 4. Wassen Elena (GER) 416.65, 5. Hains Nikita (AUS) 398.40, 6. Vazquez Montano Aranza (MEX) 381.75, 7. Lyskun Soffia (UKR) 375.95, 8. Pellacani Chiara (ITA) 375.75, 9. Pfeif Pauline (GER) 370.85, 10. Holloway Johanna (USA) 376.75, 11. Leclerc Melodie (CAN) 355.40, 12. Watson Tanya (IRL) 339.35.