By Nick Hope
Aquatics correspondent in Rijeka
Ukrainian diver Danylo Avanesov produced an astounding display in the Boys A platform final to ensure his nation finished top of the medal at the conclusion of the 2023 European Junior Diving Championships in Croatia.
His success was Ukraine’s seventh gold medal of Rijeka 2023, with Italy finishing second on five after Elisa Pizzini claimed her second title of the event by winning the Girls A 3m final.
These events ended seven days of incredible diving which have seen not only young talent from established nations underline their ‘rising-star-status’ but also the emergence of athletes from non-traditional medal-contenting nations in the sport.
Most notably these included moments of history by Matej Nevešćanin – with the host’s first-ever European Junior Diving Championship gold – and Luisa Fragoeiro-Arco – whose silver was Portugal’s maiden medal at this level.
Avanesov had qualified for the Boys A platform final with the third highest score, so was expected to be a strong medal contender, but it was Great Britain’s Robbie Lee who led through the first two rounds.
The Ukrainian ultimately showed his class though with a series of impressive routines which gave him an overall score of 556.20 to finish clear of his British rival who was second with 541.50 points.
“I’m very happy with this medal because it’s important for me but also Ukraine,” Avanesov told LEN after receiving the final gold of Rijeka 2023.
Lee added; “I know I could have delivered a bit more, but I’m beyond exhausted and have to be happy I held it together to deliver the silver.”
Isak Borslien of Norway secure his nation’s first medal of Rijeka 2023 with a hard-fought bronze, scoring 526 and finishing clear of defending champion Jaden Eikermann (510.60) of Germany who was fourth.
“I’m really happy because this is much more than I expected,” Borslien told LEN.
“I was looking for top-six, so to finish third is amazing and it couldn’t be better.”
After impressive performances at 1m, which she won, and in the 3m synchro final, where she was second, Pizzini was the favourite for another title in the individual 3m.
Despite feeling fatigue from three successive days of competition the 18-year-old delivered a masterful display and she was by far the strongest diver.
Her total of 428.85 saw her finish well-clear of 3m synchro partner Rebecca Ciancaglini (396.30) who herself secured a third medal of Rijeka 2023 with another second.
Two year ago I came to my first European Juniors in this pool and won two golds and a silver in synchro, so this has felt the same and that creates a lot of emotion for me because today was my last junior competition,” Pizzini told LEN.
“This was a long week and to finish like this, with Rebecca, is beautiful.”
Ciancaglini added; “I made some mistakes in the morning and it is completely unexpected (to win silver) but it’s amazing to do this with Elisa and I’m so happy.”
Germany’s Emily Steinhagen (379.35) ensured the individual Girls A 3m event was a repeat of the 1m final on Wednesday by edging Britain’s Tilly Brown to bronze.