Olga Kamardina, FINA correspondent in Ukraine

Two medal sets have been awarded on Saturday, which was penultimate day of the 22nd FINA World Junior Diving Championships in Kyiv, Ukraine. Youngest girls contested on the 3m springboard to register another win of China and an unexpected bronze of Sweden. Another surprise was happy for the hosting squad, which celebrated bronze on the A&B Boys synchro platform, which also grilled to the favorites' mills.

GIRLS B 3M SPRINGBOARD

14 – 15 years old divers representing 27 nations fought hard for berths to the finals in the Girls B 3m springboard. China’s Lai Shiyun and USA’s Hailey Hernandez dominated since early morning, prooving their leaders roles. Girls had been already victorious in Kyiv 5 days ago on the lower board, as Lai managed to register another win on the synchronised platform. So their good performance in today's final was of no doubt, and was of no surprise to see them both consistent throughout the decisive stage.

Photo: credit to Pavlo Kubanov

Top-scoring was rooky Chinese, which actually booked her win one round before the finish. She could have got 0 on the last attempt to remain on top. Scoring 70.50 points on the Forward 2.5 Somersaults 1 Twist, she landed on a marvelous 436.80 points total, outscoring silver medalist Hernandez by 56. However, the podium presence for the American diver as well never looked in doubt. The main mess of the day fall down on chasing bronze.

It all started in the prelims, as Rin Kaneto of Japan comfortably sat on third. The 12-divers final then brought diversity. Its two initial rounds saw Liu Jialing of China, followed by a breakthrough dive by the Swedish Emilia Nilsson Garip. 15 years old Sandinavian chose to save her Back 2.5 Somersaults pike for the last and received a solid 63.00 on her way to the podium. She finished on 373.80, a mere 0.95 points edging her Japanese opponent.

“This is a great success for me to grab my third gold of the 22nd FINA World Junior Diving Championships in Kyiv, - noted victorious Lai Shiyun of China. - The win was very difficult to get, I must admit. There were so many good and technically strong divers in the competition, and therefore my advantage was not that big as usual. My dives were not at all perfect, but they got enough points to let me finish on top. I am very proud of another medal, but I will never keep my nose up, because I know I will have to work much to show more competitive results in the future”.

Photo: credit to Pavlo Kubanov

“It took some time to wait up for the event, but it was very much worth waiting, - commented Hailey Hernandez of USA. – It was a kind of building anticipation. I tried to practice my best, preparing for the meet, and my second medal came also with a lot of pressure. I definitely could have dived much better, with much better scores. But as a matter of fact, I did not have any expectations. I just wanted to go out and dive, and I am pretty happy I got an award”.

“It was a good diving day for me, - commented the lucky intruder Emilia Nilsson Garip of Sweden. – The medal was the first in some 14 recent years. - My coach has just congratulated me on the win and told me, I have done well, and I am happy to hear that. It is very important to show I can progress and get stronger, and is able to produce good results”.

BOYS A/B SYNCHRONISED PLATFORM

In a highly anticipated synchronised platform final, 16 – 18 years old boys staged an engaging battle. Another win came on the side of China, however, close competition was the driving force distributing the merits and nearby "seats".

Photo: credit to Pavlo Kubanov

Bearing in mind not to win and enter the history, Asian powerhouse entered into the competition a victorious team. Two springboard champions Li Zheng and Lian Junije proved high expectations of their coaches and confidently won first ever A&B platform title of the FINA World Junior Championships. Their diving list was strong to match their execution, including the day’s best on round 4: Reverse 3.5 Somersaults tuck with 3.4 DD scored by 77.52 points. Their total reached 328.44 points, and they had been 24 points over the rest divers.

“We are happy we keep on winning here in Kyiv, but the total we received in this competition is low, leaving much to be desired, - critically noted Lian Junjie, on of the champions. – We could have done much better. We needed more practice, better chemistry and better consistence. Although this is not an excuse, we have been together for 2 weeks only, which was maybe not enough to get ready for the competition”.

The main battlefield was about two minor merits.

Photo: credit to Pavlo Kubanov

Ukrainian duo Yevhen Naumenkro and Oleh Serbin were only 8th after their first two out of 5 dives. The next attempts saw them significantly raised their chances to wing as has as 2nd, at one round remaining in the competition. Hosts did their best to secure the eventual podium, but emotions ran high. They managed to focus on their closing dive, and did it well enough to land bronze, narrowly overtaken by British Matthew Dixon and Noah Williams, which won silver. However, the difference in scores was not overwhelming – 304.65 to 304.08.

“It was a good competition for us, but we always want to rank as high as possible. I would be possible to beat Chinese provided we showed our best diving, and we did not, - emphasized Noah Williams. - We are happy on the end result, which goes in line with the quite successful season. We have been diving well, as another remarkable silver on 10m synchro had come for us earlier this year at the Commonwealth Games”.

Ukrainian divers’ mood was very different. They were simply happy to bring their nation the first medal at the home meet.

“We are overwhelmed with happiness and joy, as it is a big honor to celebrate podium of the Kyiv staged Junior Worlds, and we will definitely remember these fantastic feelings for a long time, - said Oleh Serbin of Ukraine. His mom Svitlana Serbina, world diving champion and participant of the Olympic Games, watched the contest live and was among the first to congratulate the duo on the merits. – We are grateful to spectators for their ardent support, which was very loud and vert helpful. We love diving at home, and this bronze is dearer than gold to us, and of course it will add to the motivation improving the diving”.

Photo: credit to Pavlo Kubanov

Laurent Gosselin-Paradis/Nathan Zsombor-Murray of Canada, reigning European champions Ruslan Ternovoy/Alexandr Lebedev of Russia and Malaysian Jellson Jabillin/Hanis Nazirul Jaya Surya were all hot ready chasing podium placements, but disappointingly suffered problems on one of the decisive rounds each to finish 4 – 6 places respectively with overall ranging from 302.76 to 283.62.

SUMMARY OF THE DAY

Chinese keep on dominating in the overall medals ranking of the 22nd FINA World Junior Diving Championships, at one day left in the competition. With 2 medal sets on offer still available as their win looks more than impressive, resting on 12 gold, 8 silver and 1 bronze pieces. However, competition day 7 registered 2 new nations with podium presence, Sweden and Ukraine, to increase the number of the medals winning nations to 13.

22nd FINA World Junior Diving Championships launched on 22 July, 2018, in Kyiv, will come to a close tomorrow, on July, 29, as merits will be played for the Girls A/B 3m synchronised springboard and Boys A platform. Alongside platform medals the last national quotas to the Youth Olympic Games in Argentina come to seal the event on a very high note.

Photo: credit to Pavlo Kubanov

 

Competition results. 22nd FINA World Junior Diving Championships. Day 7

Boys A/B synchronised platform

1. Li Zheng/Lian Junjie (CHN) 328.44, 2. Dixon Matthew/Williams Noah (GBR) 304.65, 3. Naumenko Yevhen/Serbin Oleh (UKR) 304.08, 4. Gosselin-Paradis Laurent/Zsombor-Murray Nathan (CAN) 302.76, 5. Ternovoy Ruslan/Lebedev Alexandr (RUS) 287.22, 6. Jabillin Jellson/Jaya Surya Hanis Nazirul (MAS) 283.62, 7. Idobata Kazuma/Nishida Reo (JPN) 272.82, 8. Giovannini Riccardo/Sembiante Loris (ITA) 259.62, 9. Downs Tyler/Rzepka Jordan (USA) 255.30, 10. Mota Covarrubias Carlos Alberto/Nolasco Monsivais Darwin Seul (MEX) 247.83, 11. Molvalis Nikolaos/Tsirikos Athanasios (GRE) 238.62, 12. Bonfim dos Santos Moura Luis Felipe/Figueredo Pereira Kawan (BRA) 234.48, 13. Fricker Samuel/Hutchinson Hamish Liam (AUS) 230.46, 14. Lee Arno/Sipkes Luke (NZL) 221.28.

Girls B 3m springboard

1. Lai Shiyun (CHN) 436.80, 2. Hernandez Hailey (USA) 380.80, 3. Nilsson Garip Emilia (SWE) 373.80, 4. Kaneto Rin (JPN) 372.85, 5. Liu Jialing (CHN) 366.75, 6. Wright Daryn (USA) 352.95, 7. Flint Lauren (AUS) 349.00, 8. Kuzina Elizaveta (RUS) 346.55, 9. Conn Tatiana Elizabeth Grace (CAN) 341.80, 10. Deng Julia (GER) 321.75, 11. Neroni Elettra (ITA) 288.90, 12. Arnautova Anna (UKR) 281.65.