As I mentioned in my post about my birthday weekend with my mum, we went to the FINA World Diving Series event at the Aquatics Centre on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, so rather than try and include all of the photos I wanted to in my other post, I thought I’d do a separate blog post about it.
The FINA World Diving Series is a six-leg competition, with each leg being held at a different location around the world, including Beijing, Dubai, Moscow and, of course, London. Eight events are featured; women’s and men’s 3m springboard, 10m platform and 3m springboard synchro and 10m platform synchro. The London leg was to be the first international event held at the Aquatics Centre since the London 2012 Olympics.
After having been to see a diving event in the London 2012 Olympics with my boyfriend, I was keen to take my mum to see it. I’d initially intended to only get tickets for the Sunday morning 10m platform diving session (the semi-finals) but ended up getting tickets for the Saturday evening session as well, the 3m springboard finals.
The women were first up. No GB competitors but that was fine with me, I was happy watching the Chinese do their thing (which they do very well). I think that in sport and particularly in the big international events like the Olympics, there is a big focus on Team GB and whilst it’s great to celebrate and encourage our athletes, competitive sport is about people pushing themselves to their limits and achieving amazing things, surely great achievements should be celebrated whatever the nation of the athlete and those things held up as examples. I watched the Winter Paralympic recaps every evening and they barely showed anyone other than the Brits in the short recap, frustrating.
Happily, I can report that diving fans were very appreciative of good diving, whoever it came from. There were times when the noise levels for the Chinese divers were bigger than for our GB competitors because they performed their dives well.
Before the men took their turn.
China took gold in both the men’s and women’s event. Jack Laugher (sadly it’s pronounced Lore, not the much cuter Laugh-er) from GB finished the evening in fourth place, a promising finish though from the young diver.
Now that the wings that were grafted onto the Aquatics Centre to add capacity for the Olympics have been removed, the beautiful curves of Zaha Hadid’s building can be properly appreciated.
The next morning we were up bright and early and back at the Aquatics Centre to watch the 10m platform diving preliminaries.
First up were the women who took part in semi-final A and semi-final B, with the top three from each semi-final going through to the final in the evening, before the men did the same.
Obviously the main attraction for many people was Tom Daley, and didn’t he just know it! Ok, so he’s young and back on his home turf and so people are obviously clamouring for some attention from him, but he was definitely playing up to it – skipping alongside the side of the pool, ostensibly ‘warming up’ but long before he was due to go on and when all the other competitors were watching the women’s diving or weren’t out in the public areas.
Personally I was rooting for David Boudia, the diver from the US who took gold in the 10m event at the London 2012 Olympics (Tom Daley took bronze in that event), he seemed like a total sweetie. But, for those of you who are Tom fans, here are two photos – one from the warm-up period and one of him talking to someone who seemed to be his coach but who was on the other side of the centre from everyone else (something for the fans on our side of the venue perhaps?).
Tom ended up going through to the final but unfortunately our other GB competitor, Daniel Goodfellow, didn’t make it through. We didn’t have tickets for the final, but I followed it on Twitter and I understand it was broadcast on Sky (apparently my mum made it home to see it).
As anticipated from the semi-finals, the Chinese diver, Yang Jian stole the show. He performed a four and a half somersault in pike position (the most difficult dive off the 10m platform with a difficulty ranking of 4.1) and executed it flawlessly, when multiplied by his execution points, he achieved a total of 123 points – a world record for a single dive (beating a record he’d set in the semi-finals that morning).
Have a watch below (video from Youtube, it’s not mine):
A phenomenal performance and he’s only 19 years old and this was his debut in a World Series event! His win meant that the Chinese took a clean sweep of the gold medals in the London leg of the competition. I’m sure that we’ll be seeing more of him and his team mates at Rio 2016.
Going along to watch live sport (whatever it is) only makes me want to go and see more. Maybe at some point soon I’ll get to go and see my first ever live football match. My boyfriend keeps promising to take me but says that for my first one we have to go and see someone good.