THREE MEDALS FOR ENGLAND ON DAY 8 OF BIRMINGHAM 2022
- Noah Williams recovers from cramp to secure gold with Matty Lee
- Jack Laugher claims second Games gold with synchronised 3m
- Amy Rollinson wins first major medal with 1m bronze
By Nick Hope
LEN Digital Editor
Olympic champion Matty Lee claimed his first Commonwealth title with victory alongside new partner Noah Williams in the synchronised 10m platform final in Birmingham.
Lee won the event with Tom Daley at Tokyo 2020, but with Britain’s most decorated diver currently taking a break from the sport, Williams has stepped in.
The new English pairing impressed en route to World championship silver last month and were rarely challenged in this final in front of their home crowd.
There was a moment of worry after Williams limped out of the pool following the fourth round, but the duo, who both struggled with cramp, secured a strong total of 429.78 from their six routines to place ahead of Canada (413.85) and Australia (412.56).
“This is what I do diving for, moments like this,” said a delighted Lee.
“I was a little nervous because the Commonwealths has never gone the way I wanted it to, I missed 2014 and then was rubbish in 2018, but I’m so happy we smashed it out there.”
Williams, who won silver with his previous 10m partner Mathew Dixon at the 2018 Gold Coast Games, was delighted to upgrade his medal at Birmingham 2022.
“The cramp started after the second dive and I was getting massages between each of the rounds,” he admitted after the final.
“It’s hard to replace Tom (Daley), but I knew Matty didn’t have a Commonwealth medal and I wanted to help get him one. I worried at one point I’d let him down (due to cramp) but I’m so happy with got there.”
Team-mate Jack Laugher, who won the 1m title on Thursday, claimed the seventh Commonwealth gold of his incredible career when he teamed up with Ant Harding in the men’s synchronised 3m final.
The duo, who won World silver together in their first major international as a pair last month in Budapest, led from the first round and never relinquished that lead.
“Seven (golds) out of eight (medals) is really good,” stated Laugher after his latest victory.
“It’s tough staying at the top when people are out to get you, but I’m really pleased so far and we’ll go for another one tomorrow [in the individual men’s 3m springboard].”
Harding, who won Youth Olympic 3m silver in 2018, added; “I’m over the moon.
“I’ve watched him [Laugher] at three other Commonwealths, three Olympics, and it has been a while for me to get on this kind of stage, so it means the world.”
English diver Amy Rollinson lived up to her ‘rising star’ status with a maiden senior international medal by securing bronze in the women’s 1m final.
The 18-year-old led after the first round, but found herself down in sixth after the third before fighting back into contention.
Her total of 272 saw her edge the final place on the podium, ahead of Scotland’s reigning champion Grace Reid, by 3.85 points. Canada’s Mia Vallee (291.85) took gold, with Brittany O’Brien (279.60) of Australia second.
“It’s amazing because I’ve not had the best preparation,” she admitted.
“I’ve not trained for a week or so before the competition because I sprained my ankle about a month ago and I got Covid when I came back from the World Championships.
“It’s my first major Games and third proper international ever. A medal would have been a bonus so to get one is great.”
Saturday’s action will see divers contest for three further gold medals – the women’s synchronised 3m, men’s individual 3m and women’s synchronised 10m events – at the Sandwell Aquatics Centre.