- England secure four of six medals on day one of diving at Birmingham 2022
- Jack Laugher claims his sixth Commonwealth gold at his fourth Games
- Andrea Spendolini-Sireix secures her maiden major international title
- She becomes the first English woman to win the 10m event since 1966
By Nick Hope
LEN Digital Editor
England’s Jack Laugher claimed his third successive Commonwealth Games 1m title with a comeback victory on the opening night of diving at Birmingham 2022.
The Rio 2016 Olympic synchronised 3m champion claimed three medals at the recent World Championships in Budapest, but was in third after three of the six rounds.
Team-mate Jordan Houlden led and continued to perform well, but Laugher’s form improved significantly in the second half of this final.
He took the lead in the fourth round and two further brilliant routines helped him achieve a total of 447.05 and backup his successes in the event at Glasgow 2014 and Gold Coast 2018.
“There was loads of pressure coming into here, trying to defend that title that I’ve had for eight years now,” said Laugher.
“It was a great performance, very steady, a few mistakes here and there but I’m really, really happy with everything and to do it in front of a home crowd makes it a little sweeter.”
Former Chinese world champion turned Australian diver Shixin Li (437.05) took silver with Houlden (429.30) taking and impressive bronze.
“I’m speechless, really, because I wasn’t expecting to get a bronze medal,” said Houlden.
“It’s an absolute honour to get on the podium with Jack. He’s such an amazing diver, he’s been at the Commonwealth Games so many times so it’s great.”
In the women’s 10m platform final 17-year-old diver Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix claimed her first major international gold medal with team-mate Lois Toulson second.
Spendolini-Sirieix qualified with the highest score from the preliminaries, but the scores are reset for the final and a difficult opening routine saw her in eighth with four routines remaining.
Toulson, who missed out on the squad for the World Championships last month after struggling at the British Championships in April, surged into the lead.
Spendolini-Sirieix, who is the daughter of First Dates maître d’ Fred Sirieix, was the more consistent diver over the five rounds though and despite a poor penultimate dive a stunning final routine saw her total 537.50 and secure her the gold medal.Toulson (337.20) would take second with Caeli McKay (317.50) of Canada third.
“It’s amazing, especially for it to be on home soil, a home Games,” said Spendolini-Sirieix, after becoming the first English women to win the event since 1966.
“It’s the first time I’ve actually had a crowd because I didn’t have one at Tokyo (Olympics) and the other internationals I’ve done, but it was incredible and I’ve had so much fun.”
Toulson, who won bronze in the event at Gold Coast 2018, added; “I’m really happy with my dives and my performance and it’s really nice to be back on that podium.
“I was really nervous and hearing such a loud crowd is quite daunting but I think towards the end of that and in the final, I managed to use it and feel the support of everyone which was amazing.”