Roma 2022: Italy’s Bertocchi retains European 1m crown

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Nick Hope byline

Italy’s Elena Bertocchi successfully defended her 1m title as Italy backed up their Team Event gold medal success on day one with three further podium places.

Italy’s Elena Bertocchi successfully defended her 1m title as Italy backed up their Team Event gold medal success on day one with three further podium places.

In the day’s other final British pair Lois Toulson and Kyle Kothari backed up their Commonwealth silver medal with European gold in the mixed 10m synchronised final.

WOMEN’S 1M SPRINGBOARD FINAL:

The first individual gold medal of Roma 2022 was awarded in the women’s 1m springboard event. 

A matter of hours after completing their preliminary rounds the top 12 scorers were back for the final where Elena Bertocchi, the defending champion, was backed by thousands in the stands at the Foro Italico.

She was outstanding diver for much of this final and the destination of the title looked fairly secure from the early rounds, but in diving positions can change – sometimes dramatically. 

This was not to be one of those occasions though and Bertocchi retained the title she won at the postponed 2020 Budapest Europeans, in 2021, with an impressive total of 264.25 from her five routines.

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Silver looked to be heading to team-mate and rising star Chiara Pellacani (259.65), but she would settled for bronze, with Emma Gullstrand (259.65) edging the silver with an impressive late surge.

“This is really special because I have come back from a bad period with injury and only had two weeks properly training, so this means a lot to me,” she told LEN TV. 

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Gullstrand, who was third in the 3m event at the Budapest 2020 Europeans, but finished a disappointing 13th at the Olympics, was very emotional after securing 1m silver.

“I can’t describe my feelings now, I’m still fighting with my tears. I’m extremely happy with this medal, because it was a rough year for me,” she told LEN TV.

Coming back after the Olympics, starting to train again was so hard and this medal is 80 % made of my tears, I’ve worked so hard for it.” 

Bronze medallist Chiara Pellacani, who was part of Italy’s Team Event gold medal-winning line up on Monday, said; “I’m really proud of this medal because 1m is not my competition but I’m really happy with this result.”

MIXED 10M PLATFORM FINAL:

Over the last decade Great Britain have become one of the strongest nations in European diving and after silver in the Team Event on the first day of diving Lois Toulson and Kyle Kothari paired up for the mixed 10m platform final. 

The duo won silver together just over two weeks ago for England at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and they were in medal contention throughout the five rounds.

Third after the opening two and third after the second two; they then soaring past Ukrainian duo Oleskii Sereda and Sofia Lyskun into the gold medal position with their final routine.

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Hosts Italy made a slow start but produced a brilliant final back 2.5 somersault, 1.5 twists routine to claim the final place on the podium.

It was the second medal in as many days for the Italian’s Sarah Jodoin Di Maria and Eduard Timbretti Gugiu who won gold in the Team Event on Monday.

“Starting the European Championships with a gold medal sounds pretty good to me,” said Toulson. This is not my first European medal but I didn’t know it was Kyle’s first so I’m really happy for him.”

Kothari, who is 24 but only made his senior international debut last month at the Commonwealth Games after a series of injuries, added; “This means so much to me.

“It now really feels like the start I’ve waited so long for and I can’t wait for my next event.”

16-year-old Ukrainian silver medallist Sereda said the silver, which was the fourth European Diving Championship medal of his career, was “pretty cool.”

“This is a really huge event for us, it’s a European Championships and it’s a huge result, not the best result but it’s still a big result so we are proud of it,” Sereda told LEN TV.

Team-mate Lyskun said it was a “very important” medal for Ukraine.

Jodoin Di Maria of Italy told LEN TV their “dives were okay,” but “could have been better.”

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