Olga Kamardina, FINA Correspondent in Russia

Representatives of 7 nations were seen on the podium on competition Day 3 of the 21st FINA World Junior Diving Championships in Kazan.

Experience counts

Katherine Torrance, 2015 European Games champion, won the Girls A (16 – 18 years old) 1m springboard event to give Great Britain the second diving title in Kazan and add the second Junior World Championships’ gold to the one she secured two days earlier in the Mixed team event.

Grils A 1m springboard champion Katherine Torrance in action

It was no way easy for her to finish atop of the prelims as her rivals were Michelle Heimberg of Switzerland and Canada’s Olivia Chamandy. They had been staying tuned all the way through to the 7th qualification round, but failed to nail the eventual champion, which posted the best scoring dive of the morning session – forward 2 ½ somersaults pike, 61.10.

The story got even more exciting in the final. The British took a good start, earning 54.00 for the inward 1 ½ somersaults pike, and she was chased by the two Russians. Then, Tatiana Stepanova and Ekaterina Nekrasova were dominating for a while, overtaking Torrance, but kept her head cool and her heart hot. She posted 61.00 by the close for a forward 2 ½ somersaults pike, finishing first.  The British totaled 413.90, just 0.85 points clear of Stepanova, earning silver. Olivia Chamandy of Canada won bronze boasting 399.95 overall.

Awarding ceremony in 1m springboard Girls A event

“I have no words to describe my feelings, I just wanted to try if I could, and it turned out to go pretty well, - exclaimed the newly crowned world junior champion. – I lead at the prelims, and I saw there was a possibility to proceed in the same path. I did my best, but I respect my opponents a lot. Stepanova is very strong. I love the way she dives”.

“I was not expecting any medals, - confessed Tatiana Stepanova of Russia, touching her silver tenderly. – It is my first medal at the Junior Worlds. I was in Penza two years ago, but this time turned to be more successful! I like everything here in Kazan. The pool is very nice and the atmosphere is very home-like”.

“I wanted to show my best, and the bronze is a good prize for the many-hours trainings I spent to get prepared for the competitions, - said Olivia Chamandy of Canada. – I never follow my opponents dives, and I prefer to stay focused on myself. Two years ago in Penza I was fourth in the 3m springboard, so I can say I am making some progress, and the bronze is a good step up”.

First gold for China

The 15-years old Xia Bingqing of China showed consistency both in the prelims and in the final of the Girls B (14 – 15 years old) platform event. She finished atop after 7 rounds with 368.75 and proceeded in the same winning tradition in the 12-man final. Flawlessly executing the 1st and the 2nd attempts, which were forward 3 ½ somersaults pike and inward 3 ½ somersaults tuck with a high degree of difficulty, she left no chances for her challengers. Xia’s total of 381.95 was 11.75 points clear of Sofiia Lyskun of Ukraine. The girl astonished everyone rushing into the podium with her 2nd and 3rd high scoring dives, which were over 70 points each, and moved Japanese Arai Matsuri on third with 367.60.

“I am very happy with the gold, though the scores could have been even higher. I am not satisfied with all of my dives, - Xia Bingqing confessed. - I will continue to work on and train very hard.”

“It was very difficult to fight, there are lot of strong divers, so my silver looks very nice indeed. – admitted Sofiia Lyskun commenting on her performance. – I never thought I could win the podium presence, so it was a pleasant surprise. I am for the first time at the world junior championships.

Girls B platform diving event at the Aquatics Palace of Kazan

Favorites did not cope with pressure

Boys A&B 3m synchronised springboard turned into a spectacular show. Everyone on the grandstands could not keep astonishment as Lou Massenberg and Patrick Kreisel of Germany overtook Chinese on the halfway point. The eventual champions had been consistent and hard-working, and not occasionally earned 9 for synchronization and execution of their dives. Totaling 316.98, the German duo left favorites Chen Linhai and Li Pingan at 2.25 points behind.

The Chinese failing to nail their third attempt – forward 3 ½ somersaults pike – in their turn gave the hope to the Russian duo. Although Nikita Nikolaev and Artem Bezdenezhnykh didn’t manage to keep to the high 2nd position, they were pretty happy grabbing their podium presence together with 313.56 overall.

“We are happy with the bronze, - said Nikita Nikolaev afterwards. In 2014 in Penza he collected silver teaming Ilya Molchanov. – Gold is much better of course, but we understand, we shall train even harder to win it one day. The road to the champions title will not be easy, but we are ready for any challenges”.

“We have such a great role-models as Ilya Zakharov and Dmitry Sautin in Russia, - added Artem Bezdenezhnykh smiling. - We would very much like to achieve the results they have got”.

The newly crowned champions said they had not suffer major problems with their dives today.

“This is not our first success ever, we celebrated victory at the European Junior Diving Championships-2016 in Rijeka, noted Patrick Kreisel and Lou Massenberg. - It feels so great to win! We had a great mood to dive today, and it paid off with the result we showed. We felt we were a medal lock, but we could not predict what kind of medal it should be. Like all athletes, we are a little bit superstitious. It is a coin, a penny, which we found in Scotland, before the competitions. We noticed, that the luck is following us since then as we have mastered the dives we could not have coped before". 

Russian Nikita Nikolaev and Artem Bezdenezhnykh sealing bronze in the Boys A&B 3m synchro springboard

Competition results. 21st FINA World Junior Diving Championships.

Day 3

Girls A 1m springboard

  1. Katherine Torrance (GBR), 413.90
  2. Tatiana Stepanova (RUS), 413.05
  3. Olivia Chamandy (CAN), 399.95
  4. Michelle Heimberg (SUI), 398.55
  5. Ekaterina Nekrasova (RUS), 397.25
  6. Jana Rother (GER), 391.45
  7. Elaena Nancy Dick (CAN), 390.00
  8. Anna Emma Gullstrand (SWE), 387.25
  9. Millie Fowler (GBR), 380.75
  10. Madeline Coquoz (SUI), 379.20
  11. Kaja Skrzek (POL), 371.20
  12. Maha Abdelsalam (EGY), 368.90


Girls B platform

  1. Xia Bingquing (CHN), 381.95
  2. Sofia Lyskun (UKR), 370.20
  3. Arai Matsuri (JPN), 367.60
  4. Tarrin Gilliland (USA), 354.50
  5. Yana Satins (RUS), 344.35
  6. Emily Martin (GBR), 331.20
  7. Erin Megan Field (CAN), 324.20
  8. Margo Claire Erlam (CAN), 304.30
  9. Irina Astashkina (RUS), 302.95
  10. Helle Tuxen (NOR), 299.70
  11. Aranza Vazquez (MEX), 299.30
  12. Mayson Richards (USA), 292.05


Boys A&B 3m synchronised springboard

  1. Germany, 316.98
  2. China, 314.73
  3. Russia, 313.56
  4. Switzerland, 301.83
  5. Ukraine, 296.58
  6. Great Britain, 288.99
  7. Australia, 288.69
  8. Denmark, 281.40
  9. USA, 278.46
  10. Croatia, 269.40
  11. Mexico, 266.52
  12. Colombia, 265.47
  13. Spain, 265.20
  14. Greece, 260.58
  15. Brazil, 251.64
  16. Armenia, 230.10