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Starling shows promise in Olympic semis

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4th August 2012

Teenager Hannah Starling impressed as she missed out on a 3m Springboard final spot by less than a point at her first Olympic Games.

The 17-year old – the youngest in the semi finals by three years – finished with an impressive tally of 313.95 after a consistent performance, having scored more than 60 for each of her dives.

I got over 300 which is something I really wanted to do and I aimed to have a good time and enjoy it - and that's what I did.

And while her tally would have qualified her for the final at the 2009 and 2011 World Championships, it saw her finish an agonising 13th in London as Ukraine’s Olena Fedorova took the last qualification spot on 314.70.

Starling and City of Leeds teammate Rebecca Gallantree, who also made the final and finished 18th on 267.10, were bidding to become the first Brits to reach the last stage of the competition since Alison Drake in 1972.

And while the youngster missed out by such a small margin, she admitted she had far exceeded her expectations at the Games.

"I'm really happy," said Starling. "I've finished 13th at the Olympics and I didn't think I'd even make the semi-finals yesterday.

"And then 0.75 off the final is tough but it's my first Olympics and I'm really happy with the performance.

"I got over 300 which is something I really wanted to do and I aimed to have a good time and enjoy it - and that's what I did.

"Rio is probably going to be my next big goal but I'm going to take it one year at a time because in diving you never know what is going to happen."

While she took a moment at the start of every dive to soak up the cheers of the home crowd, Starling was the picture of calmness when she focused to dive and started positively, scoring 63.00 for her opening inward 2 ½ somersaults in pike.

The teenager’s second dive was her weakest, dropping to 6.5s from the judges to score 60.45 for her highest difficulty dive, a forward 3 ½ somersaults in pike.

But Starling – who finished in 27th on her World Championship debut last season – showed maturity to bounce back and scored 63.00 for both her third (a reverse 2 ½ somersaults in pike) and fourth (a back 2 ½ somersaults in pike) dives.

Her last dive of London 2012 was her best of the round, scoring 64.50 for her forward 2 ½ somersaults, 1 twist in pike to sail past the 300 mark.

Gallantree’s 2 ½ somersaults, 1 twist in pike was also her best dive of the day and it came right at the start as she score 63.00.

Sport can be tough sometimes - it didn't go my way today but I gave it everything I had.

But the double Olympian, who was also competing in her first individual Olympic final, gradually slipped down the order, dropping below 50 points for her third and fourth efforts.

She recovered to finish with 6.5s for her back 2 ½ somersaults in pike but her 57.00 wasn’t enough to claw back up the leaderboard.

"Sport can be tough sometimes," said Gallantree. "It didn't go my way today but I gave it everything I had.

"Unfortunately it just didn't go my way. I'm a little disappointed but I really enjoyed the experience - competing in front of a home crowd is just a fantastic experience."

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