Tom Daley and Matty Lee delivered their first international gold medal to send a packed home crowd into raptures on Friday afternoon, the perfect start to the London leg of the FINA Diving World Series, which takes place across the weekend.
Having watched their young teammates Eden Cheng and Lois Toulson win bronze in the Women’s 10m Synchro, the opening event of the weekend, the pair were inspired as they broke the British record to win gold.
In only their sixth event as a partnership, World Champion Daley and rising star Lee won a maiden gold, having taken bronze and silver so far on the World Series circuit. In fact for Lee it was his first senior international gold medal, delivered in front of a home crowd in the pool the pair train in day in, day out.
The London based duo made a strong start to the competition, their first two required dives receiving good scores from the judges, before an excellent round three Inward 3 ½ Somersault Tuck (407C) garnered 82.56 points, to elevate them to second place at the halfway mark.
With a large, vocal home crowd roaring them on, there momentum continued to build as they aced a Back 3 ½ Somersault Pike (207B) for 91.80 points, replicating that score in round five to overhaul the Chinese.
Heading into the final round the GB duo led and knew a flawless final dive would win gold, which they duly delivered. With an expectant home willing them on, they produced one of the highest scores ever recorded in men’s synchro diving, a Forward 4 ½ Tuck (109C) earning a huge 104.34 score to put the result beyond doubt. Their final total of 477.90 was a new British record and pushed China and Russia into the silver and bronze medal positions with scores of 459.00 and 448.50 respectively. To put that result into context, the previous British best on the international stage was Daley and Dan Goodfellow, who scored 444.45 points en-route to bronze in Rio three years ago.
Of their gold medal performance, Daley commented:
“We knew that we were capable of doing that as we’ve been doing it in training, but this is the first time everything has come together in one diving list; there’s still more to get out of the list, but we’re pretty happy with that!
“The home crowd support was just fantastic and being able to compete in front of family and friends and beat the Chinese gives you a lot of confidence, especially heading into the World Championships.”
A delighted Lee added:“I’ve never interacted with the crowd like that before, turning around with that much confidence and thinking, we’ve smashed it and punching my fist in the air. I’m speechless. In the junior world I established myself as quite a successful athlete but this is my first senior international gold medal - I’m over the moon. We’ve still got a few more competitions to go here, but it’s a great start.”
Over in the women’s event, European champion’s Eden Cheng and Lois Toulson bagged bronze behind the Chinese and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.The pair rounded off their debut campaign on the World Series circuit with another consistent series, finishing on a score of 284.76 point meaning they stepped onto the podium to receive their first every world level medals. Cheng and Toulson’s best dive came in the final round as they scored an impressive 71.04 with their Back 2 ½ Somersaults 1 ½ Twist Pike (5253B).
Speaking post-competition Leeds based Toulson said:
“There was a massive turn-out – we weren’t expecting that and it’s definitely the biggest crowd out of all of the World Series we’ve been to. With it being a home crowd they were cheering extra loud for us, so we just made the most of it.”
Of winning a medal in her first year on the World Series circuit, Cheng added:
“This means a lot. I had a GCSE yesterday so the first time we’ve trained together this week was this morning!”
The Chinese pairing of Chen Yuxi and Yuan Haoyan finished top of the board after they served up another masterclass of diving, their final score 334.92 edging out Kim Mi Rae and Jo Jin Mi.
The action continues at 19:00 this evening, with Olympic champion Jack Laugher and his new partner Dan Goodfellow in action in the Men’s 3m Synchro.
Full results from across the weekend can be found by clicking here.
Tickets for all sessions are available on the door throughout the weekend – please note tickets are no longer available online.For more details about the London leg of the of the FINA/CNSG Diving World Series 2019 click here to visit our event hub.