VAN DUIJN seals historic diving gold for Netherlands
EDINBURGH - Celine Maria VAN DUIJN pulled off one of the biggest triumphs for Dutch diving for decades while Germans Tina PUNZEL and Lou MASSENBERG prevented Britain's Grace REID from enjoying a victorious homecoming on a dramatic day of action at the Royal Commonwealth Pool on Wednesday.
VAN DUIJN beat all the pre-event favourites to take the women's 10m platform title, the first time the Netherlands have enjoyed European gold medal celebrations since the days of Edwin and Daphne JONGEJANS in the springboard events in the 1980s and early 1990s.
"This is massive for Dutch diving," Netherlands team manager Nancy ROZA said. "We have been knocking on the door for a couple of years but I can't remember us every winning anything on the platform."
VAN DUIJN clinched the title with a superb last dive - a backward 2½ somersault with 1½ twists pike - to finish with 319.10 points ahead of Italian Noemi BATKI (315.00) and Germany's Maria KURJO (308.15).
Ukraine's Sofiia LYSKUN, who had been expected to be among the medals, could finish only fourth, ahead of Britain's Lois TOULSON.
"It's pretty close in the platform. The scores are closer to each other but this was a big suprise," VAN DUIJN said. "I've worked really hard for it and I'm happy it's finally paid off."
Roared on by an enthusiastic crowd, REID and her new partner Ross HASLAM (GBR) had to settle for silver behind PUNZEL and MASSENBERG in the mixed 3m synchronised springboard.
MASSENBERG, who also won a silver medal in the opening mixed team event on Monday, and PUNZEL took control of the competition with an impressive fourth and penultimate dive.
The Germans totalled 313.50 points ahead of the British pair on 308.67, with Ukraine’s Viktoriya KESAR and Stanislav OLIFERCHYK third on 291.81.
REID, who grew up in Edinburgh and first learned to dive at the RCP, has been competing with HASLAM for only two months after usual partner and world champion Tom DALEY (GBR) took a break from the sport for family reasons. The Scot was happy with the silver.
"We would have loved to have taken home the gold but the Germans really stepped up their game," REID said.
"It has been lovely to come back to familiar settings, friendly faces and hear that Scottish accent. It has been a real asset to have the crowd behind you."
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