Anna Kozina, FINA Media Committee Member

The last day of the FINA World Junior Diving Championships in Penza (RUS) appeared to be very stressful and tense for all the participants but especially for the Russian athletes looking for the first gold medal at their home championship.  In the Girls B 3m springboard final, Tatiana Stepanova finished fourth, 20 points behind the bronze medallist and 27 behind the leader. Ekaterina Nekrasova, who claimed silver on the lower board, came only seventh. The two Russian divers walked through the mixed zone with their heads down and refused to talk to journalists. Australian Georgia Sheehan delighted with her performance and was, on the other hand, very communicative and jovial. She earned her third medal of the competition, this time the gold, totalling 407.65. Georgia overtook another favourite of the championship, Song Anxin from China (404.30) and Christina Wassen from Germany (400.40).The podium of the Girls B 3m springboard - Photo credit: Andrey Demin

On her successful results, Sheehan said: “I’m so happy with my dives. I’ve got my third medal here. Now I have a full collection: gold, silver and bronze. I’ve prepared a very strong and difficult programme and that’s why I could be on the podium in several events”.


Georgia Sheehan was pleased with the level of the competition. “I must say that diving is a painstaking job. But I enjoy it. I also appreciate competing and travelling around the world. I like it here in Penza. The pool facilities were very good and the crowd was very nice”.

The Boys A 5-7.5-10 platform final, which closed the event, was thrilling. Russian Igor Mialin won the qualification and was expected to fight for the gold medal. Penza is his native city so he had a powerful fan base. Even Olympic champions Igor Lukashin and Yulia Pakhalina were supporting him. After the first dive, Mialin was only 0.65 points behind his opponent from China Tai Хiaohu. In the second attempt, Tai Хiaohu appeared a bit nervous and did not excel, scoring 4-4.5 for his dive. Mialin took the lead. But after successive mistakes, the Russian missed the next three attempts and pulled himself back to the final fifth place. Tai Хiaohu refocused, performed two more impressive dives and conquered the gold with a total of 565.55. His teammate Li Ping’an came second totaling 538.50. Bronze went to Kyle Kothari from Great Britain (536.00). The former junior world champion Nikita Shleikher (RUS) finished only seventh, obtaining 497 points.

Medallists in the Boys A platform - Photo credit: Andrey Demin

As always, China – despite bringing the “second” national team to Penza - showed its supremacy in the field. In total, Chinese divers picked up 14 medals (7-2-5). Australia took the second positon with two gold, one silver and three bronze. Mexico came in third: 1-2-2 (5). Denmark, USA, Colombia and Japan also earned one gold each. Russia came second taking into account the total number of medals, getting eight podiums: 0-7-1.

Girls B, 3m springboard

1. Georgia Sheehan (AUS), 407.65
2. Song Anxin (CHN), 404.30
3. Christina Wassen (GER), 400.40
Boys А, 5-7.5-10 platform

1. Tai Xiaohu (CHN), 565.55
2. Li Ping'an (CHN), 538.50
3. Kyle Kothari (GBR), 536.00
Medal table
1. China 7 2 5 14
2. Australia 2 1 3 6
3. Mexico 1 2 2 5
4. Denmark 1 1 - 2
5. USA 1 - - 1
6. Colombia 1 - - 1
7. Japan 1 - - 1
8. Russia - 7 1 8
9. Great Britain - 1 2 3
10. Germany - - 1 1

Diving fans in Penza - Photo credit: Andrey Demin