Great Britain, Russia and Ukraine to battle for diving medals at Royal Commonwealth Pool
EDINBURGH - Great Britain face an intense battle with Russia and Ukraine for supremacy in the diving competition at the Glasgow 2018 European Championships, with Germany and Italy also tipped for medals from the 13 events scheduled for 6-12 August.
Jack LAUGHER (GBR) will lead the home team in the absence of their biggest name, triple world champion Tom DALEY. LAUGHER won the 2016 Olympic title with partner Christopher MEARS (GBR) in the 3m synchronised springboard and was an Olympic silver medallist in the individual 3m.
The 23-year-old will bid for the triple in Edinburgh when he contests the 3m synchro (with MEARS), the individual 3m and the 1m springboard.
The British team is a mixture of newcomers and experienced athletes. Grace REID (GBR), who grew up in Edinburgh and first learned to dive in the Commonwealth Pool, is a strong contender in the women's 3m springboard, and also in the 3m synchro with Katherine TORRANCE (GBR).
REID has also been diving with new partner Ross HASLAM (GBR) in the mixed 3m synchro while her usual partner DALEY takes time off to care for his first child. Lois TOULSON (GBR) hopes to defend her 2017 European title in the women's 10m platform.
Russia's charge in the men's disciplines will be led by 3m synchro world champions Evgenii KUZNETSOV and Ilia ZAKHAROV and 10m synchro world silver medallists Aleksandr BONDAR and Viktor MINIBAEV.
At 30, Nadezhda BAZHINA (RUS) is a veteran in diving terms but she will be a medal contender in all her events: 1m, 3m and 3m synchro (with Kristina ILINYKH), plus the mixed 3m synchro where she teams with Nikita SHLEIKHER, 11 years her junior.
Ukraine's hopes rest largely on Maksym DOLGOV and Oleksandr GORSHKOVOZOV in the men's 10m synchronised platform, and Sofiia LYSKUN and Oleg KOLODIY in the mixed team.
DOLGOV and LYSKUN have also enjoyed individual success this season. "We have nine athletes here, not 12 like last year, because of injury problems. But we have plans for medals," head coach Tamara TOKMACHOVA (UKR) said.
Germany's top diver Patrick HAUSDING has been winning medals at European level for a decade and is back in action after sitting out several months with a knee injury. The Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medallist is looking to make up for his disappointing 14th place in the men's 3m event at last year's European championships.
HAUSDING also competes in the men's 3m synchro with new partner Lars RUEDIGER.
"We are missing some of our best athletes due to injury, so we had to switch around some of the synchro teams, which is difficult in such a complicated discipline," German head coach Lutz BUSCHKOW said. "But we want to take home a few medals. We have some old hands who are very accomplished, but we also have young divers who were successful at the European and world junior championships this year."
Italy's hopes are pinned on world bronze medallist Giovanni TOCCI (ITA) in the 1m springboard and defending European champions Elena BERTOCCHI and Maicol VERZOTTO in the 3m synchro mixed event. BERTOCCHI is also defending her title in the women's 1m springboard.
The competition opens on Monday with the mixed team event in which Ukraine and Russia are expected to be strong contenders.
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