Cheng triumphs in ‘tough contest’ to land first British Championships individual title

Eden Cheng claimed her maiden British Diving Championships individual title after sealing victory with a thrilling finish in a highly-competitive Women’s 10m Platform.

The Crystal Palace diver was in third spot heading into the final dive of the competition at Sheffield’s Ponds Forge International Pool with five athletes in contention for the gold medal.

However, Cheng produced her highest-scoring dive of the event – a Back 2½ Somersaults 1½ Twists Pike – which earned her 75.20 and proved to be enough to top the podium by the narrowest of margins.

Cheng finished with a score of 318.75 and was 0.25 points ahead of the 2020 champion Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix-Sirieix, who had also saved her best dive until last.

Dive London Aquatics Club’s Spendolini-Sirieix took on the same dive as Cheng and scored 72.00 to finish with a total of 318.50 to secure silver.

City of Leeds Diving Club’s Lois Toulson was third – 5.25 adrift of Cheng.

Her highest-scoring dive was also the Back 2½ Somersaults 1½ Twists Pike in round five which earned her 67.20 for an overall total of 313.50.

Cheng said: “It was a bit up-and-down, a bit of a rollercoaster ride. 

“It didn’t go so well at the start, but I brought it back and fought on. I feel great, because it shows I have inner fight, that’s what I’ve been looking for and that’s what I’ve been lacking for the last couple of years in individual, so it’s really good.

“It’s really about perseverance and motivation, that’s what we have to do as elite athletes – we know there is a prelim and then a final, so it is working on that reset button that we need to master. I feel like that went well for me. It was a tough contest, though.

“Coming just ahead of Andrea, the fact that it was one-two for us and we are a synchro pair, it’s exciting to see what we can do. I know yesterday didn’t go so well for both of us, we can bring it on. We can improve, there’s things in there to start work on – it’s just the beginning.

“It’s been incredible having my family and friends here again. I love it, that’s my support system, so having them here and watching me do what I do, it feels amazing.”

Hat-trick for Jack

Jack Laugher claimed his third gold medal of the British Diving Championships with an impressive display in the Men’s 3m Springboard.

Laugher led from start to finish to claim a hat-trick of titles in the 2022 event after topping the podium in the Men’s 1m Springboard and Men’s 3m Springboard Synchro on the opening day of the competition.

It was Laugher’s first British title in the 3m Springboard since 2016 and was thoroughly deserved as he amassed 495.00 points to finish 16.50 clear at the top.

His best dive came in round two as he earned 94.50 for a Reverse 3½ Somersaults Tuck – but he showed consistency throughout as four of his six dives scored more than 80 points.

Home favourite Jordan Houlden took the silver medal to delight the Sheffield crowd.

The City of Sheffield diver scored 93.60 for his Forward 2½ Somersaults Triple Twist Pike on his way to a final total of 478.50 in a talented field.

The 2020 British champion, Edinburgh’s James Heatly, took the bronze medal with a total of 454.90.

Matty and Noah impress

The newly-formed partnership of Matty Lee and Noah Williams were comprehensive winners in the Men’s 10m Synchro  as they showed their class throughout the event.

A series of consistently-impressive dives was topped in the final round as the Dive London Aquatics Club duo scored  92.13 for their Forward 4½ Somersaults Tuck.

It left them on 437.55 points – 58.14 ahead of their Dive London Aquatics Club team-mates and silver medalists Ben Cutmore and Kyle Kothari.

They were challenging for the gold after four dives but a disappointing final dive meant they had to settle for the silver with a total of 379.41.

Guests Eduard Timbretti and Andreas Sargent Larsen, of Italy, were third on 362.73, while the British bronze medallists were Matthew Dixon and Euan McCabe.

Their top dive of the competition was an Inward 3½ Somersaults Tuck which achieved a score of 76.80 and an overall scored 357.48.

Second national title Desharne and Amy

Desharne Bent-Ashmeil and Amy Rollinson added the British Diving Championships Women’s 3m Synchro title to the National Cup gold they won earlier this year.

Dive London’s Bent-Ashmeil and Luton’s Rollinson impressed throughout and scored 66.60 for two of their dives – an Inward 2½ Somersaults Pike and Back 2½ Somersaults Pike.

That left them on 274.50 – 25.44 ahead of the silver medallists Evie Smith, of Dive London Aquatics and Southampton Diving Academy’s Tilly Brown.

They scored 249.06 overall to hold off the challenge from Callie Eaglestone (City of Leeds Diving) and Maya Kutty (Southampton Diving Academy, who were third on 244.68.