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Rediff News  All News  » Sports » Surprise! This ex-gymnast won gold in diving!

Surprise! This ex-gymnast won gold in diving!

August 09, 2018 10:17 IST

'I started diving when I was 18 years old, so actually I'm older but I'm still young to diving'

Celine van Duijn

IMAGE: Celine Maria van Duijn of the Netherlands in action. Photograph: Russell Cheyne/Reuters

Dutchwoman Celine van Duijn was the surprise winner of the 10m platform title at the European Championships on Wednesday, holding her nerve while the favourites disappointed.

The 25-year-old had to give up gymnastics as a teenager because of injuries, turning to diving instead, but she had never made a major breakthrough until this victory which even left her astonished.


Her experience told as the podium was unexpectedly populated by three veteran athletes in diving terms, with Italy's 30-year-old Noemi Batki taking silver and 28-year-old German Maria Kurjo bronze, her third medal of the week at Edinburgh's Royal Commonwealth Pool.

Britain's champion, 18-year-old Lois Toulson, seeking to become the first woman in 68 years to successfully defend the platform title, made a mess of her fourth-round dive and could only finish fifth.

Celine van Duijn

IMAGE: Celine Maria van Duijn of the Netherlands celebrates on the podium. Photograph: Russell Cheyne/Reuters

In the preliminary rounds, another favourite, Russia's Iuliia Timoshinina, crashed out, opening up a golden opportunity for Van Duijn.

"I feel amazing, I still can't believe it," said Van Duijn, who also topped the preliminary round before recording a total of 319.10 points in the final, 4.10 more than Batki.

"It's pretty close on platform, the scores are closer to each other, but this was a big surprise. I've worked really hard for it and I'm happy it's finally paid off."

At the same championships last year, Van Duijn had finished 10th but she reckons she may be a late bloomer.

"It's different for me because I started diving when I was 18 years old, so actually I'm older but I'm still young to diving," she said.

"Most divers start when they are six years old, but I was a gymnast before but had a lot of injuries so had to stop. In diving you can get fewer injuries and for me, transitioning from gymnast to diving was not that hard."

Earlier, 17-year-old German Lou Massenberg, winning his second medal after a silver in the team event, struck gold with 23-year-old Tina Punzel in the synchronised 3m springboard event.

British pair Grace Reid and Ross Haslam took silver with Ukraine's Viktoriya Kesar and Stanislav Oliferchyk claiming the bronze.

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