Andrea Spendolini Sirieix closed out the girls’ competition at the 24th FINA World Junior Diving Championships by winning Great Britain’s first gold medal this week in Montreal. The 18-year-old’s platform victory also marked her last junior competition.
On Saturday, she had another large task: trying to win Britain’s first gold medal of the FINA World Junior Diving championships 2022. It came down to the very last girls’ event (platform for ages 16-18), and after placing seventh on the 10m board at last year’s Tokyo Olympics, she had a great chance.
In the end, Spendolini Sirieix blew away the rest of the field to close out her junior career with the junior world title.
The top qualifier, Renee Batalla of Canada, took silver, 22.25 points behind the British ace. And while Batalla actually led the field at the midpoint of the four-round final because her preliminary scores carried over, Spendolini-Sirieix had the harder dive list (all 3.0 DD or higher). Batalla’s dives were all in the 2 range, so it didn’t take a fortune teller to predict the winner.
The real question was who would place third.
Sofia Knight of Australia held steady to capture the bronze, but the gap was 24.25 points behind the runner-up.
Afterwards, Spendolini-Sirieix, 18, was delighted but admitted that her preliminary round was “horrible. I lacked energy, so my dives didn’t execute as I wanted them to. But in the final, I was pumped and ready. I wanted it, so I went for it. I’m really happy with the way I dove. It’s great! It’s my first and my last junior worlds. In fact, it’s my last junior competition, so to finish it on that is amazing.”
"It’s my first and my last junior worlds. In fact, it’s my last junior competition, so to finish it on that is amazing.”
Batalla, who turned 16 in October, said, “I would have loved to have hit that last dive a bit better (a back 2½), but for this being the biggest junior event I’ve ever gone to, I think I did quite well.”
The Victoria, British Columbia, native switched to diving at age 9, after being a gymnast which she said “definitely helped the acrobatic path.”
Knight, the 17-year-old bronze medalist said, “I knew I was capable of a medal, but it all had to fall into place when it did so I’m very excited. It’s my first international competition, actually, so I’m very, very happy with the result.”
Knight attributed her success to her coaches and support system in Montreal and back home in Sydney. “They’re the key,” she said, “The relationship that I have with them is what’s got me here today.” Before her last dive, her coach told her to enjoy it. “That’s what the whole point of today was, so I really took it all in.”
On Sunday, the 24th FINA World Junior Diving Championships will conclude with one final: in Boys Platform final for ages 16-18.
As an undercard to the main event, junior high divers will complete the last two rounds of the World Junior High Diving Invitational from 12 meters and 15 meters.
Watch It | Final Day of the 24th FINA World Junior Diving Championships
PRELIM | Boys (16-18 Years old) | Platform
FINAL | Boys (16-18 Years old) | Platform