• Sat. Aug 20th, 2022

Commonwealth Games: England’s Jack Laugher and Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix win diving golds


Aug 5, 2022
Commonwealth Games: England's Jack Laugher and Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix win diving golds

Hosts: Birmingham Dates: 28 July to 8 August
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV with extra streams on BBC iPlayer, Red Button, BBC Sport website and BBC Sport mobile app; Listen on BBC Radio 5 Live and Sports Extra; live text and clips online.

Jack Laugher and Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix won the first diving titles on offer at the 2022 Commonwealth Games on a golden night for England.

Laugher, 27, successfully defended his 1m springboard title for a second time, as team-mate Jordan Houlden took bronze.

Seventeen-year-old Spendolini-Sirieix then won the women’s 10m platform on her Games debut.

Her team-mate Lois Toulson took silver, upgrading from bronze from 2018.

Spendolini-Sirieix, who scored 357.50 points, had topped the leaderboard from her second dive – an inward three-and-a-half somersaults with tuck – that saw her jump seven places.

Watched on by her proud father, First Dates star Fred Sirieix, she did not let the lead slip, it so significant that not even a score of 56.00 on her penultimate dive caused too much worry.

Toulson finished with a total of 337.30.

Laugher, who won the 1m springboard title in 2014 and 2018, scored 447.05 to finish 10 points ahead of Australia’s two-time world champion Li Shixin.

He will be joined on the podium by fellow Englishman Houlden, who won bronze on his Commonwealth debut – an achievement which Laugher said was “extremely special”.

“First Commonwealth Games in front of a home crowd, there’s a lot of pressure,” he told BBC Sport.

“He’s come out there, he’s pushed me and the boy from Australia all the way. He’s done himself proud today and it’s lovely having someone alongside me now. I couldn’t think of a better person for it.”

Having finished fourth in the preliminary round earlier on Thursday, Laugher was in bronze medal position after the first three dives in the final as 24-year-old Houlden impressed to go top of the standings in the early stages.

But a score of 79.90 on his fourth dive – an inward two-and-a-half somersaults in pike – catapulted three-time Olympic medalist Lougher up the leaderboard.

His experience showed as from then he posted consistently high scores to ensure daylight between himself and Li, finishing with a final dive score of 80.85 to put the gold medal out of the Australian’s reach.

Laugher has struggled with his mental health in recent years, but said this performance, and the three medals he won at the World Championships earlier in the summer, showed he was back on an upwards trajectory.

“It is always a work in progress and you can see the physicality of the people I am competing against – they’re all so high,” he said.

“Jordan is a little bit younger than me and a very strong boy and at the top end, the physical aspect is really similar and what separates the best from the best is the physical aspect of it.

“Mental health and mental well-being has been extremely important for me. I’ve really struggled with it over the years but I feel like I’ve overcome quite a lot and obviously doing performances like this today and at the World Championships makes it all better and keep me moving forward.”

Houlden landed his first major medal with a total score of 429.30.

“I feel absolutely speechless,” he told BBC Sport. “Coming to my first Commonwealth Games and coming third, getting a medal – I wasn’t expecting it. I am completely blown away.”

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