GLASGOW, Aug 12 – Russia soared to the top of the diving medals table on the last day of the European Championships on Sunday with their 10-metre platform champion Aleksandr Bondar saving the best for last.
The 24-year-old, Ukrainian-born athlete produced a superb performance from the high board, delivering two 90-plus-point dives and one outstanding effort of 104.40, featuring three perfect 10s, to dominate the final competition.
His team mate Nikita Shleikher took the silver medal to ensure that the Russian team edged ahead of Britain in the final diving standings at the Royal Commonwealth Pool in Edinburgh.
Going into the event, both countries had the same number of golds and medals but the Russian one-two meant they finished with five golds, four silvers and three bronze to Britain’s four golds, five silvers and one bronze.
Bondar, already champion in the synchronised platform event with Viktor Minibaev, produced the best dive of the entire week in the third round, with three maximum marks for his back three-and-a-half somersaults pike.
He ended with a total of 542.05, well clear of Shleikher on 481.15 with Benjamin Auffret, of France, taking bronze on 480.60.
“I would not say that it was without any errors. I went through my programme quite well but it could have been better. You can always do better and there is room to grow,” said Bondar.
Bondar first won this competition five years ago when competing for Ukraine but in 2014 he moved to Russia to be closer to his relatives and his Russian girlfriend, who became his wife the following year.
He was considering quitting the sport until persuaded to continue in Russian colours.
Earlier, Italy’s Elena Bertocchi and her 15-year-old team mate Chiara Pellacani snatched victory in the women’s synchronised three-metre springboard event.
Their win came after a calamitous fifth and final dive by the British pair of Grace Reid and Katherine Torrance, who had been leading the competition only to plunge down to fourth.
It left the Italian duo and their coaches in tears, hardly able to credit their good fortune after the British duo had only needed a modest score to take gold.
Bertocchi, who had also won bronze in the individual one-metre springboard, and Pellacani scored 289.26, enough to pip Germany’s Lena Hentschel and Tina Punzel (286.80) and Russia’s Kristina Ilinykh and Nadezhda Bazhina (282.90).
For the 22-year-old Reid, who had won gold in the three-metre springboard on Saturday with her final dive, it was a complete reversal of fortune as her crestfallen 19-year-old partner Torrance made a hash of the critical dive. (Reporting by Ian Chadband; Editing by Clare Fallon)