Golds stack up for English divers

  • Last Updated: July 30 2014, 21:22 BST

Jack Laugher looked ahead to his main event with optimism after winning one of two Commonwealth Games gold medals for England's divers on day one of competition in Edinburgh.

  • Rebecca Gallantree and Alicia Blagg (left) with their gold medals
  • England's Jack Laugher won gold in the 1m springboard event 

The 19-year-old from Harrogate won the men's one-metre springboard event at the Royal Commonwealth Pool - hosting its third Games after the Edinburgh events of 1970 and 1986 - after team-mates Sarah Barrow and Tonia Couch claimed silver in the women's synchronised 10m platform.

There was a dramatic conclusion to the day as Alicia Blagg and Rebecca Gallantree won England's second gold and third medal from three events with a last-dive triumph in the women's synchronised three-metres springboard.

All this comes before Tom Daley has taken to the boards, proving that English diving is about more than one person.

Daley's competition begins on Friday with the men's synchronised 10m platform before the individual event he won in Delhi in 2010 takes place on Saturday.

Laugher could share the Glasgow 2014 golden glow with Daley after a fine opening performance.

He scored 449.90 for his six dives, winning in supreme fashion from Australian pair Matthew Mitcham (404.85) and Grant Nel (403.40), who were second and third, respectively.

"It's amazing to come away with gold," Laugher said.

"One metre is a really good training event for three metres. It's not my main event. I've got three metres tomorrow and the three-metres synchro with Chris (Mears on Friday).

"To come away with a PB (personal best) and gold medal here is just fantastic."

His best dive was an inward 2 1/2 somersault which was rewarded with a score of 81.60 by the judges.

"It's something I've dreamed about since I started diving, 12 years ago," said Laugher, a former world and European junior champion.

"This isn't an Olympic event but this gives me confidence for tomorrow, which, if I do well, will give me confidence for Rio.

"I'm hoping that Rio will be the one for me."

Mears, 21 from Reading, was fourth after entering the final ranked third behind Laugher and Mitcham.

Yona Knight-Wisdom, who is representing Jamaica but was born in Leeds, scored 391.20 to place fifth.

Scotland's James Heatly, grandson of five-time Games diving medallist Sir Peter Heatly, was ninth with 345.60 and England's Freddie Woodward 10th with 340.05.

For Blagg and Gallantree theirs was an unexpected triumph.

The duo had resumed their five-year partnership only earlier this month after being separated by injuries this season.

Third after the fourth of five rounds, a score of 72.54 for their forward 3 1/2 somersault resulted in a total of 300.24 and gold ahead of crestfallen Canadian pair Jennifer Abel and Pamela Ware (295.65). Australia's Maddison Keeney and Anabelle Smith (294.72) took bronze.

"I just can't believe it," said Blagg, who is 17 and from Wakefield.

"That last dive it was either a medal or no medal. We had no idea. We thought we were in fourth or fifth.

"To do that dive and then see the scoreboard ranked first it was the best moment of my life. Just disbelief."

Gallantree, 29 and from Chelmsford, added: "We knew we could do a good one (last dive). We have been struggling with it a little bit in training; the timing's been a bit off.

"To do it in that situation, last dive, when it really mattered, and to do that to get the gold is just amazing."

Earlier in the day Plymouth pair Barrow and Couch conceded a leading position after four of their five dives to take silver.

In a competitive field missing only China from the 2013 World Championships podium in the event, the English girls were overtaken on the final dive as Canada's Meaghan Benfeito and Roseline Filion won gold with a score of 310.65.

Barrow and Couch finished with a score of 306.96 and Malaysia's Pamg Pandelela Rinong and Sabri Nur Dhabitah (300.12) claimed bronze.

Couch said: "We thought we might come fifth. We're really pleased with silver."

There was a delayed start to the second event of the day due to a technical issue related to the judges' electronic scoring systems.

It meant the divers could not follow their progress on the scoreboard.

Barrow and Couch brushed aside the delay, but felt their final dive, a back 2 1/2 somersault with 1 1/2 twists, was scored low at 69.12 by the judges as the Canadian pair took gold.

"We had an inkling that we were leading," Barrow said.

"Normally we do our last dive pretty well, so a little bit disappointed with that.

"They (the judges) didn't seem to be on our side."