World Cup 2014 (W): Champions take centre stage on Day 2
Defending champion United States of America and world and European champion Spain are unbeaten after day two of the FINA Women’s Water Polo World Cup at the Ugra State University Sports Complex.
USA began strongly in the Group B match and maintained a distance against perennial rival Australia before winning 8-6. Spain looked impressive against China in Group A, winning 12-5 after being 7-3 up early in the third quarter. China looked drained after its wonderful upset of Russia the previous night. The lesser lights took stage and South Africa scored three centre-forward goals against Hungary in the 25-3 loss. It was Hungary’s first win in Group B. In the final encounter of the day, Russia beat Singapore 35-2 In a Group A match-up.
YOG 2014: Youngsters ready to shine in Nanjing
A pool of young talents is gearing up for the second edition of the Summer Youth Olympic Games (YOG) taking place in China’s “Southern capital” on August 16-28, 2014. After a dazzling inaugural edition in Singapore in 2010, which saw South African Chad Le Clos (swimming) and Chinese Qiu Bo (diving) start making their mark in the world arena, the 2012 Olympic medallists are inspiration for the youth, who them to, hope to leave a strong impression in the pool and beyond.
The world’s up-and-coming elite aged 14-18 will compete in 28 sports, including swimming and diving. Nanjing 2014 will feature two new sports, golf and rugby, ahead of their debut at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Counting fewer events and disciplines, the YOG competition programme comprises 5% of non-Olympic, mixed-gender or mixed-NOC events.
Khanty-Mansiysk, Day 1: Action aplenty on opening day of FINA Women’s World Cup
Australia, United States of America, Spain and China were winners on the opening day of the FINA Women’s Water Polo World Cup at the Ugra State University Sports Complex.
In Group A, Spain went into counter-attack heaven with a 34-3 victory over World Cup newcomer Singapore with world and European champion Roser Tarrago netting seven goals. Russia lost the final match in a gripping 14-13 encounter with China to end the day in front of a capacity house — there was a large screen outside the venue. Russian fans were not rejoicing.
Kazan 2014, Day 3: Orlando Duque (COL) is already a legend
“You never think you can achieve this. It was clearly my day”. These were the first words of Orlando Duque (COL), the winner of the inaugural edition of the FINA High Diving World Cup organised in Kazan on August 8-10, 2014. The Colombian icon already made history at the 2013 FINA World Championships in Barcelona when he got the gold medal, following the inclusion of this exciting discipline in the FINA aquatic programme. “After Day 1, the scores were pretty close so I knew the competition would be very tough”, added Duque, who turns 40 years old in less than a month.
The Colombian diver totalled 601.20 points at the end of the five-dive competition, divided in two days: on Friday, at the end of the first three dives, Duque was second, but after two very solid dives on Sunday (average notes of 8.5) he got the gold in Kazan.
Youth Water Polo (M), Day 9: Hungary clinches the title on the day of thrillers
The final day brought a series of thrillers as three of the four contests were decided by penalties, including the final which saw the Hungarian team winning the shootout against Spain. Interestingly, both sides remained unbeaten if we consider the regular time of the matches played in the tournament but the Magyars were a bit luckier at the end – or rather Spain ran out of luck as they also won their quarter final and semi final in the shootout.
The bronze went to the Russians who upended the Serbs by shooting the penalties better. In fact the tournament was incredibly balanced, besides the Hungarians and the Spaniards, the Serbs, fourth, and the Montenegrins, fifth placed, didn’t lose a game in the regular time either but they missed a couple of crucial attempts in the shootouts and had to leave Istanbul empty-handed.
Montreal 2014: Katherine Johnstone, 97 (NZL): "I don't know how to stop!"
"That was a long swim!" said 97-year-old Katherine Johnstone of New Zealand after clocking 7:59.19 in the 200m freestyle. The brave lady was tired but all smiles: she had just become the one and only FINA World Masters champion in the 95-99 category!
Unrivalled in Montreal, Johnstone celebrated the new accolade in the 50m, 100m, 200m and 400m freestyle, and 50m breaststroke. Two years ago in Riccione, Italy, Johnstone also swam the 800m freestyle but was not allowed this time. Back home, she still holds the national record in the 1500m freestyle.
Kazan 2014, Day 2: U.S. trio on the women’s podium
It was USA all the way in the women’s final of the first FINA High Diving World Cup, taking place in Kazan with Rachelle Simpson getting the gold in front of her two teammates, medallists at the 2013 FINA World Championships: Ginger Huber was again second while Cesilie Carlton had to content with bronze after being the winner in the Catalonian capital.
In a competition marked by strong winds – athletes choosing armstand dives had visible problems in maintaining their initial position -, Simpson was the most consistent athlete of the nine-diver field. After a modest initial combination, the 26-year-old excelled in a forward 3 somersaults with ½ twists, piked (DD 3.4), amassing the highest score of the session, 86.70. “That dive was key for the gold”, recognised Simpson after the medal ceremony. Leader of the current season of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series, Simpson (1,66m/56kg) couldn’t hide her satisfaction after the victory in Kazan. “I still don’t have words and I cannot stop shaking. It is an amazing feeling. When standing on the podium and watching the three U.S. flags, tears came to my eyes," confessed Simpson. Asked if the wind affected her performance, the U.S. diver smiled: “Fortunately not, as all my dives had a take-off with the feet…”
Youth WP 2014 (M), Day 8: Hungary faces Spain in the final
The two semi finals brought tremendous excitements – and altogether 18 goals in regular time. The defences did a magnificent job and it was the goalkeepers who made the difference. Hungary’s Soma Vogel came up with an unbelievable saving percentage (82%) which was the key of the Magyars’ 5-3 win over Russia.
In the other semis the Spaniards upset the Serbs, after finishing 5-5 in 32 minutes they won in the penalty shootout which saw their goalie, Miquel Linares catching the last two Serbian attempts. This means that Hungary and Spain will play for the gold medal on Sunday – it’s going to be huge as they already clashed in the prelims and finished 6-6.
Montreal 2014, Diving: Canadian Olympian Jeff Hirst completes hat-trick
Toronto-based Jeff Hirst, an Olympian from the 1988 Olympics in Seoul in the 10m platform, bagged three gold and one silver from the 15th FINA World Masters Championships diving competition taking place on August 5-9 in Montreal. Hirst was in a class of his own in the 50-54 age group, sweeping three events in three days: the 1m (291.75 points), 3m springboard (332.45) and 7.5m platform (222.30).
On Saturday August 9, Hirst finished second with Mike Inglis in the platform synchro, less than 3 points behind U.S. pair Scott Smith and Ronald Kontura.
Montreal 2014, Diving: 1989 earthquake keeps her off board for 20 years
At Masters Worlds, each individual has its own story to tell related to their sport. American diver Sara Gilliland's story is quite special. The 37-year-old practiced diving for one year in 1989 and stopped for 20 years. The very day she decided she would never stand on a board or platform again, Gilliland had just had a terrifying experience: she was on the 3m springboard at her home-town club in California when a huge, tidal wave rose from the swimming pool, steming from the San Francisco-Oakland earthquake of October 17, 1989.
The major earthquake, also known as Loma Prieta earthquake, hit the San Francisco bay area, causing more than 60 deaths. "I was so scared that I stopped diving for 20 years," Gilliland said.
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