A golden Friday night at the European Games came as Eden Cheng clinched the Women's Platform title, following on from Grace Reid and James Heatly securing silverware in the Mixed 3m Synchro.
Eden Cheng delivered on her top qualifier billing to win a brilliant Women’s Platform gold on day three of the European Games. The Tokyo 2020 Olympian came to the fore in the final round, with a sublime Back 2 1/2 Somersaults 1 1/2 Twists Pike (5253B) taking her to a winning total of 331.60 points.
It was a nip and tuck final throughout, and consistency across Cheng’s early rounds was key to keeping her on the medal hunt, before capping it with a special final dive. The significance of the gold going beyond Cheng’s result on the night as it also secures Team GB an unnamed quote place in the event for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
“Very happy, slightly relieved, a bit emotional – I’m feeling a lot of emotions right now!” said Cheng
“I’m grateful that I had the opportunity to be selected for this team and to be in the competition amongst friends and fierce competitors. So yeah it’s boosting my confidence and showing me that my resilience is still at a very high level through the rollercoaster of competition.”
“I felt a bit of extra pressure [after the prelims] and it didn’t help that everyone was then diving so well this evening. So yeah there was pressure but for me there’s an advantage diving after someone as it gives me motivation that I want to do it better and that spurred me on.”
Teammate Robyn Birch placed fifth overall, with her diving list bookended by her best two dives of the competition.
Meanwhile Grace Reid and James Heatly continued their established Mixed 3m Synchro partnership, adding a brilliant European Games silver to their collection of World, European and Commonwealth medals from 2022.
The pair set themselves up with two strong opening required dives, and their Forward 2 1/2 Somersaults 1 Twist Pike (5152B) in the third round put them temporarily into the lead. Going into their final dive, Reid and Heatly had been nudged just outside of the medal standings, but under pressure landed a stunning Inward 2 1/2 Somersaults Pike (405B) for 65.70 points to propel themselves back onto the second rung of the podium.
“The Mixed 3m is a really good event because every pairing there has a possibility of winning," said Reid
“I think everyone sat here at this table on the podium knew that they were in with a chance so that makes it a really exciting event - today Italy dived so well and really deserved the gold. James and I really enjoyed the event, we're pleased with silver, obviously we'd have loved to have won but we’ve both got a couple more events to come and are still super excited.”
Heatly adding: “We're definitely satisfied with that. We haven’t trained much together since the European Championships last year so we’re really happy with another solid performance and a medal.”
The European Games 2023 diving programme at the Rzeszow arena began on Thursday evening with Desharne Bent-Ashmeil, Ben Cutmore, Robbie Lee and Eden Cheng contesting the Mixed Team Event 3m/10m. Together they placed seventh with Lee and Cheng delivering their highest scoring dive, an Inward 3½ Somersaults Tuck (407C) for 67.20 points in the final round.
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