Olga Kamardina, FINA correspondent in Ukraine

22nd FINA World Junior Diving Championships is in the wings in Kyiv, gradually updating the chart for the sport’s major events.

Competition Day 4 gave way to the springboard rookies in hot pursuit of the 2 medals sets. Youth Olympic Games trips went alongside the one of the Group A contest for the girls. China dominated operations in all events, leaving only half of the merits on chase for the rest of the world. 3 other nations were registered on the podium: USA, Australia and Mexico, which by the way, celebrated the first podium presence in Ukraine.

Photo: credit to Pavlo Kubanov

BOYS B 1M SPINGBOARD

New champions got crowned in the Boys B 1m springboard. Kyiv LIKO sport center saw a complete change in the awardees composition, comparing to the previous edition of the FINA World Junior Diving Championships in Kazan. Neither Russians, nor Columbians dived well enough to claim merits, and hot vacancies were immediately filled in by the rising American, Mexican and Chinese divers.

Long Daoyi revived his nation’s hopes for domination, which were left in suspense for the 3 initial competition days to go registering no Chinese man able to produce gold. 1m rookie coped with the expectation laid on him, confidently leading from start to finish. He showcased a steady list with strong dives of 3.0 – 3.1 Degree of Difficulty, sealing final by a Forward 3.5 Somersaults tuck. Long harvested the day-high 76.50 points for the overall 466.80.

“The last dive was the most difficult for me, - confessed the winner afterwards, explaining that the uneasiness related to the psychological side of the training process. - I was a bit nervous, and now I am very happy I have won. However, I was not concentrated on finishing 1st, I just wanted to show top level diving”.

Photo: credit to Pavlo Kubanov

American Tyler Downs won silver on 452.35 points. Third heading into the final round, he was quite sure he was able landing a medal piece, but he knew not which color exactly.

“I did good dives, and I was quite ready for the challenge, though my opponents were physically strong, - said Tyler Downs. – The key for the silver-win was pulling together for the final and getting concentrated on my own performance, rather than tracking the opponents’ diving. I have even managed to improve my seasonal best, which I posted at home in America. I am 5-time national junior champion, and I am happy I have proved my strength at my first Junior Worlds”.

Russian Vyacheslav Kachanov and Mexican Osman Olvera Ibarra traded bronze, and luck favored the latter. In the prelims, where he ranked lowly 5th, the rising Mexican did not show his best, but it turned out that he saved energy for the last. Having no major faults in the final, he finished on 413.90 points, which was quite enough to climb up the podium. Nearest challengers were left over 18 points behind.

“I knew it would not be easy, but I believed in myself, - noted Osman Olvera Ibarra. - I am very grateful to my coaches, which have made this win possible, and I am very proud to be the first in my team to win a medal here”.

Photo: credit to Pavlo Kubanov

GIRLS A 3M SPRINGBOARD

Good stakes were risen in the Girls A 3m springboard. Not just the medals, but trips to the Youth Olympic Games-2018. Agitation spread out as top 9 would be the lucky fellows to book their nation a travel to Argentina. All the scores mattered more than ever, making everyone in the contest look poised hit the birth.

A strong "De ja vu" feeling appeared early in the morning session. "Girls" gold was again between China and China. Asian rookies have been atop in the Prelims and left none doubt their reigning supreme in the 12-divers final. They were top scoring in all 4 rounds, as Lin Shan was a little more impeccable than her teammate. Breaking 500 points mark, she took the crown. Ma Tong, 15.85 points adrift, added silver to her 1m springboard gold, earned the day before, on 487.30 points.

“I am champion, and I am very happy for my silver-winning teammate Ma Tong, - said Lin Shan of China. – It was actually my plan to be the first, and I have done it. I know, that finishing in the top 9 means earning a birth for the nation to the Youth Olympic Games in Argentina. Although the birth is not personal, I am very much hoping, I will be the one to go there”.

Photo: credit to Pavlo Kubanov

“I need more training to be better competitive, - noted yesterday’s winner Ma Tong. She was sad today and did not smile as usual. – I was not perfect. My back 2.5 Somersaults pike on final’s round 2 had a bad entry. Competing my compatriot made me emotional and was a big pressure, and this is what I would have to analyze and draw conclusions”.

The most unexpected revival took place in the clash on the third place. Russian Uliana Klyueva had been keeping to the eventual bronze all the way to the final attempt, but her low scores on the 3rd Reverse 2.5 Somersaults pike gave hope for the chasers. Australian Alysha Koloi posted 63.00 on Forward 2.5 Somersaults 1 Twist pike to rout her Russian opponent at the finish, 432.30 to 430.35.

“I don’t know what to say, - confessed emotional Alysha of Australia. - I competed really well today, and I am happy I have won. The bronze came out as a surprise for me, because I did not track scoring during the competition, and my coach told me I am on the podium as soon as I finished”.

Awardees were not far from the rest of the battlefield. Uliana Kluyeva of Russia, Maria Papworth Burrel of Great Britain, American Bridget O’Neil, and Mexican Aranza Vasquez Montano ranked 4 to 7, scoring within 10 points interval.

Photo: credit to Pavlo Kubanov

As the 22nd FINA World Junior Diving Championships in Kyiv counts second half, a few changes are seen in the overall ranking. China strengthens its source on first, posting a 5-4-1 record. USA moves up on 2 silvers, and Australia celebrates 2 bronze pieces in their pocket. The number of the medal winning nations reached 10 as Mexico registered their first bronze. Competition Day 5 will bring heat tomorrow. Launching on a very busy schedule will be two prelims in the morning session, followed in the afternoon by a highly spectacular Girls A/B synchro platform final passing the baton to the two Boys portions – in 1m A and 10m B platform.

Competition results. 22nd FINA World Junior Diving Championships. Day 4

Boys B 1m springboard

1. Long Daoyi (CHN) 466.80, 2. Downs Tyler (USA) 452.35, 3. Olvera Ibarra Osmar (MEX) 413.90, 4. Weinrich Max (USA) 396.45, 5. Wang Zewei (CHN) 391.85, 6. Jemenez Mestas Gael (MEX) 384.95, 7. Kachanov Vyacheslav (RUS) 384.90, 8. Petersen Elias (SWE) 382.90, 9. Humphreys Tyler (GBR) 379.15, 10. Ikuma Senri (JPN) 376.75, 11. Meulendijks Bram (NED) 359.75, 12. Fofana Cedric (CAN) 343.35.

Photo: credit to Pavlo Kubanov

Girls A 3m springboard

1. Lin Shan (CHN) 503.15, 2. Ma Tong (CHN) 487.30, 3. Koloi Alisha (AUS) 432.30, 4. Klyueva Uliana (RUS) 430.35, 5. Papworth Burrel Maria (GBR) 424.75, 6. O’Neil Bridget (USA) 422.70, 7. Vazquez Montano Aranza (MEX) 420.50, 8. Shyrykhay Anna (GER) 414.95, 9. Pellacani Chiara (ITA) 407.40, 10. Heimberg Michelle (SUI) 402.60, 11. Mew Jensen Scarlett (GBR) 396.50, 12. Antolino Valeria (ESP) 395.90.