Commonwealth Games: Starling flying high after netting diving bronze

Hannah Starling
Hannah Starling
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Leeds’ Hannah Starling claimed Commonwealth Games bronze in the women’s three-metre springboard on the final day of diving at Edinburgh’s Royal Commonwealth Pool.

Esther Qin of Australia won gold with a score of 347.25 ahead of Canada’s Jennifer Abel, the one-metre springboard champion, who finished with 324.70.

Starling scored 67.50 for her final dive, a forward two-and-a-half somersault with one twist, to score a total of 316.95 and take her place on the podium.

Alicia Blagg, also from Leeds, who won gold in the synchronised event alongside Rebecca Gallantree on Wednesday, was seventh. Scotland’s Grace Reid (297.50) was ninth and Gallantree (292.20) was 10th in the individual event.

Blagg qualified in sixth place but was in medal contention after her third of five dives, scoring 71.30 for her forward 3 1/2 somersault. The 17-year-old was soon overtaken though as team-mate Starling moved above her in a tight battle for the podium by scoring 63.00 for her back 2 1/2 somersault.

Starling secured her podium place when Maddison Keeney, the penultimate diver, was unable to usurp her and it was all about whether Abel could displace Qin. Abel’s reverse 2 1/2 somersault scored only 51.00, leaving the Australians to celebrate victory.

A tearful Starling was surprised by her podium finish.

“I did not expect a medal at all,” she said. “I don’t look at the scores so it was a complete shock to me. Going into that final I didn’t think I had a very good (first) two dives. In my head I was thinking, ‘I’ve not done too well’.

“I somehow pulled it back with my last three (dives) and I cannot believe that I finished in third. It was a dream to come away with a medal, but then I pulled myself back to reality.

“I can’t believe it. I finish fourth quite a lot of the time. This time I was on the right side of the points.

“To finally have an individual medal on a stage like this is just amazing for me.”

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