Belgrade 2024: Desharne Bent-Ashmeil claims third gold, Austrian pair stun favourites

Published On: June 22, 2024

Credit to:  European Aquatics

Desharne Bent-Ashmeil is flying high at the European Aquatics Championships Belgrade 2024. The Great Britain diver clinched her third gold medal in as many days by adding the 3m Springboard individual title to two synchro crowns. Clare Cryan made history as she won Ireland’s first diving medal. Austrian duo Anton Knoll and Dariush Lofti stunned the field of the Men’s 3m Synchro as their consistency proved to be a winning asset.

Bent-Ashmeil is on a roll. Two days ago she bagged her first European gold medal with Ben Cutmore as they claimed a narrow win in the Mixed 3m Synchro.

She teamed up with Amy Rollinson on Thursday as they claimed first in the Women’s 3m Synchro with the last dive of the competition.

Come Friday and the individual final and Bent-Ashmeil was shining once more.

She topped the ranks from the beginning – apart from being second briefly after the second round – and she extended her lead through the rounds.

At the end, 62 points separated her from runner-up Helle Tuxed of Sweden.

Credit to: European Aquatics

Bent-Ashmeil delivered one fine dive after the other with not a single mark under 6.0 and mainly 7.0 and 7.5s.

While the Briton maintained this level, others did not and some failed one or two of their dives.

Sweden’s Emilia Nilsson even had to withdraw after the fourth round as her legs hit the board while finishing the rotation.

Bent-Ashmeil finished with 305.15 ahead of Tuxed (243.20) and Cryan scored 240.55 to claim a historic medal for Ireland.

“I’m very satisfied, I’ve been working very hard, I’ve done so much training,” said Bent-Ashmeil. “By the grace of God, I was able to get through this. I kept my cool and peace to carry on.

“Even if there was much going on, so many people were up and down so I’m very grateful that I was keeping my cool.”

“It was kind of weird, everything was up for grabs and I’m very happy that I took it,” said Tuxed. “Definitely, there is room for improvement. I’m very happy how I kept my calm and just kept going.”

Cryan was unsure of what the future held after she wrote a line in the Irish sporting history books.

“It was a weird competition, there was a lot going on so it was important to keep focused on my own things and that was the right thing to do today,” she said. “This might be the end – since I’ve finished my Masters degree I don’t know how much left for me in diving.”

Austrian pair Knoll and Lofti seized the opportunity and emerged as unlikely winners in the Men’s 10m Synchro as they managed to keep their consistency, avoid mistakes and come up with their best when it mattered the most.

Two of their four higher DD dives stood out and earned them 70-plus points.

Midway through the final the Spanish and the Ukrainian duos did really well.

Kirill Boliukh and Mark Hrytsenko led after four rounds (and performed the highest scoring dive in Round 3 for 76.20), while Carlos Camacho and Max Linan sat in the second place at the halfway mark – but each pair had a failed attempt.

The Spanish fell in the fourth and the Ukranians did even worse when Boliukh completely missed his dive which saw them drop out of contest.

At the end, both duos had three 70+ dives but the errors cost them a medal respectively.

At the same time, the Austrians climbed to the top in the penultimate round and saved their best for last to roar to gold with a 74.88-pointer.

Credit to: European Aquatics

They won with 367.05 with the minor spoils going to Italy’s Francesco Casalini and Julian Verzotto with 356.88.

Great Britain got third as Cutmore and Euan McCabe also maintained a fine level of diving to claim bronze with 350.70.

“This gold is a result of a lot of training and lot of fun,” said Knoll. “On the synchronisation we don’t really have to work, it has been always good. We are always in sync in the pool and out of the pool, we understand each other pretty well.”

Lofti added: “We worked a lot, even here, since the start of the championship. We dived consistently, here you need six good dives and we did six good dives.”

Verzotto said: “It’s amazing, this is the first European medal for us – at the first competition we are doing together. This is a new experience, we weren’t expecting much here, we just wanted to have fun and we are happy with our performance.

“This is the first time we competed together, and everything was solid and we made no big mistakes.”

Cutmore put the British duo’s medal down to preparation.

“Every year we come here with a different team, and every time it’s been about acclimatising to the pool, getting used to doing your dives next to different people, getting used to doing your dives in different pools,” he said,

“Every time you go to different pools so it’s all about acclimatisation. It’s hard as we didn’t spend much time together. If we had had more time together, today it could have been a different result.”

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