Kirill Boliukh of Ukraine and Charli Petrov of Australia took the first individual titles of the 24th FINA World Junior Diving Championships in Montreal on Monday. Boliukh won the 3m contest for boys ages 14-15, and Petrov won the platform title for girls ages 14-15.
MONTREAL – Two 15-year-olds shine brightly on Monday night in Montreal as they picked up their first junior world titles.
Boys 3m final (Group B – ages 14-15)
In the Group B Boys 3m event, 15-year-old Kiril Boliukh didn’t let his seventh-place ranking in the preliminary round hinder his effort to win gold in the four-round final. Scores from prelims carried over into the final and after his first dive in the final, he was already in second place. He took the lead in dive two, doubled his lead in dive three, and threw the hardest dive of the competition in the last round, a forward 2½ with 2 twists (with a 3.4 DD) which put him 16.75 points ahead of the silver medalist Arnaud Corbeil of Canada. Valerio Mosca of Italy finished third.
“I’m very-very happy,” Boliukh said of his first junior world title. After Monday morning’s prelims, he said he was “50-50” worried/not worried about performing well in the final. Before his last dive, he admitted “I was nervous but I was trying to do my best.”
Boliukh had arrived in Montreal one week ago from his training base in Kiev where practice was often cancelled because there was no electricity or heat in the pool due to the ongoing Russian invasion.
If his name seems familiar, it might be because Boliukh competed at the 19th FINA World Championships Budapest 2022 this past summer and placed fourth in the men’s 10m synchro event with his teenage teammate Oleksii Sereda (who is not competing here).
Meanwhile, Corbeil, the 14-year-old runner-up from Quebec exceeded his expectations. “I was mostly reaching for the top-5, so having this medal here at home really means a lot to me,” he said. His parents, sister, grandmother, and uncle were in the stands. To celebrate, he said he would go up and “be with my family in the VIP zone.”
Girls platform final (Group B – ages 14-15)
In the Group B Girls platform event, the top three finishers from prelims finished 1-2-3 in the final, in the same order. But it wasn’t a runaway. Presley Deck of Canada worked her way into the medal chase with one dive to go. By then, prelims-leader Charli Petrov of Australia had a comfortable 16-point lead, but less than one point separated divers in the second, third, and fourth position. On the final dive, however, Deck scored the lowest of the trio, dropping to fifth place while Maisie Bond of Great Britain took silver and Anna Lemkin of the US claimed the bronze.
Petrov, 15, said, “I knew it was going to be very close,” and as the last diver of the night, “it was going to be very-very tough to beat Maisie as she did such an amazing dive. It was definitely a lot of pressure.
On that last dive [a back 2½ with 1 ½ twists], I said to myself, ‘You’ve done this so many times. You can do it your sleep. Just do it one more time, the way you do it back home in Melbourne.” It turned out to be the highest-scoring dive of the competition (76.80 points).
Bond, the penultimate diver, was aware of the tight margin, too. “Yeah, I was trying not to think about it,” she said, “As I was walking back to my bag, I saw it on the screen and I was like: Oh no, that’s not good,” yet she racked up six 8.0s and an 8.5 from the judges for her reverse 2½ at her first junior world championships and decided to dedicate the silver medal to her father, Jon Bond, in the stands.
Bronze medalist Lemkin had the hardest dive list in the final. All three of her dives carried a 3.2 DD. As an ex-gymnast who switched to diving five ago, the California native said, “Gymnastics taught me a lot but I found my passion in diving. I love it so much.”
Results | FINA World Junior Diving Championships
Find all the competition results here.
On Tuesday, three more gold medals will be awarded: in Girls 3m (ages 16-18), Boys 1m (ages 16-18), and girls synchro platform featuring a combination of athletes ages 14-18. Note that in junior platform diving, athletes may select the height of the tower: 5m, 7.5m, or 10m – in contrast to the Olympics and the FINA World Championships where platform divers compete from 10m.
Watch It | Tuesday Medal Events
FINALS | Girls (16-18 Years old) | 3m Springboard
FINALS | Boys (16-18 Years old) | 1m Springboard
FINALS | Girls | Platform Synchro