Lois soars on last dive

PHOTO: The New Paper

By her own admission, she had targeted a place on the podium but the colour of the medal took her by surprise.

British national champion Lois Toulson came from behind to clinch the women's 10m platform gold at the Fina Diving Grand Prix Singapore at the OCBC Aquatic Centre yesterday.

What made the 16-year-old's victory more remarkable was that she was up against 2012 Olympic silver medallist Brittany Broben of Australia, as well as two Chinese divers who had won gold from the same height in the women's synchronised 10m event on Friday.

Lois, who also won the gold in the same event at this year's European Games, was in second place and trailed Chinese diver Wang Han by about 12 points going into her last dive yesterday.

But she snatched the gold with a back 2 ½ somersaults with 1 ½ twists, scoring 76.80 points on that attempt to give her a total of 345.25 points.

Wang Han finished second with a 342.70 total, while her teammate Wang Ying was third (302.60).

The two Chinese divers had won the women's synchronised 10m event on Friday.

Australian Broben finished last among six finalists with 239.80 points.

A happy Lois said after her final dive: "I wasn't expecting to win at all, I was hoping to win a medal though."

She was the second-highest scorer in the semi-finals on Friday with 303.90 points - North Korea's Kim Mi Rae topped the pool with 333.60 points - and Lois said that performance gave her both confidence and pressure for the final yesterday.

While she deliberately chose not to know where she stood going into the final dive, Lois was on familiar territory in her last attempt.

She said: "It is my favourite dive, so I like to put it at the end because it's a safe dive. I was just trying to keep my calm and do my best."

Lois' win broke the Chinese monopoly on the gold medals so far in the Singapore leg of the nine-stop Grand Prix series.

The diving giants swept all three titles on the first day of the meet on Friday, and added another two yesterday.

First, Xu Zhi Huan and Wu Chun Ting won women's synchronised 3m springboard event with 287.10 points, ahead of divers from Ukraine (282.60pts) and Australia (269.07pts).

Then, Peng Jian Feng won the men's 3m springboard final in dominating fashion - he scored 515.70 points and was far ahead of teammate Zhong Yu Ming (390.85pts) and Australia's Matthew Carter (390.70pts).

Peng was happy to have won yesterday, but said he was still "some distance away" from being an Olympic-grade diver.

The 21-year-old said: "I think the squad for the Olympics are already fixed, but I will just try to do my best, even though I am still some distance away from making that team, in terms of my standards."

South-east Asia Games silver medallists Fong Kay Yian and Ashlee Tan were the only Singaporean divers to make the finals yesterday.

They finished fourth in the women's synchronised 3m springboard event with 231.78 points.

Fong, 19, said: "I think we did okay today because we introduced a new dive today... and we did the synchro bit for that dive right before the competition today."

Ashlee, 15, added: "In terms of the score we didn't do as well as the SEA Games, but I think it's because we had a new dive, and we still did quite well.

"We will improve from here."

sayheng@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on October 18, 2015.
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