LAUGHER grabs second springboard title as Britain dominate diving
EDINBURGH - Olympic silver medallist Jack LAUGHER (GBR) grabbed his second title of the Glasgow 2018 European Championships on Thursday to put Great Britain in a dominant position in the diving with three gold medals from seven events at the Royal Commonwealth Pool in Edinburgh.
LAUGHER, who won the men's 1m springboard on Tuesday, triumphed in a tense duel with Russia's 2012 Olympic champion Ilia ZAKHAROV to clinch the 3m springboard gold medal.
With three golds, two silvers and one bronze, the host country have picked up six medals at just over half way through the diving competition. Rivals Russia have five but only one of them is gold with six events remaining on the final three days of action.
The tall, svelte ZAKHAROV topped the standings after the first half of the six-dive 3m final. But LAUGHER, who won silver in the individual 3m and gold in the synchronised event at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, took the lead with his most difficult dive in the fourth round - a forward two and a half somersault with three twists in pike position.
ZAKHAROV saved his toughest dive till last - a superb forward four and a half somersault tuck - but he could not quite secure enough points to stop LAUGHER, who applauded the Russian’s final dive from the pool deck.
The Briton finished with 525.95 points, ahead of ZAKHAROV (519.05) with Russian Evgenii KUZNETSOV taking bronze (508.05). Briton Daniel GOODFELLOW (437.75) was fourth.
"I did really well today. There is still a lot to improve. It wasn't a perfect performance, by any means, but I'm really happy with the outcome and especially happy to beat the Russians as well," LAUGHER SAID.
ZAKHAROV thanked his British rival for a tight contest. "Overall it was a good fight. It was very interesting and we haven't had such powerful jumps for a long time," he said.
It was a day of Russia-Britain tussles. Before Thursday, the mood in the Russian camp had been low with only one silver and one bronze medal for the country - way below their expectations.
But Aleksandr BONDAR and Viktor MINIBAEV lifted the country out of the doldrums when they sealed the first gold of the day in the men’s synchronised 10m platform.
BONDAR and MINIBAEV brought their excellent 2018 World Series form to the Commonwealth Pool, winning with 423.12 points, ahead of Britain’s silver medallists Matthew DIXON and Noah Williams (399.90).
Armenia sealed their first European medal ever in diving when Vladimir HARUTYUNYAN and Lev SARGSYAN took bronze with 396.84. It was also Armenia’s first medal in any sport at Glasgow 2018.
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