DOHA, Qatar – Thursday marked a big night in men’s 10m synchro diving. Four Olympic berths were at stake and four-time Olympian Tom Daley, 29, of Great Britain was trying to keep his comeback hopes alive. Daley had retired after claiming Olympic gold in Tokyo in 10m synchro with Matty Lee, then reversed course on his YouTube channel on July 29 because his elder son, Robbie, told him, “Papa, I want to see you dive at the Olympics.”

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Daley and his partner in Doha, Noah Williams, were firmly in second place all night behind Lian Junjie and Yang Hao of the People’s Republic of China. Third place was a shuffle, but Ukraine prevailed.

After six rounds were completed, Lian and Yang won their third world title in three years, earning 470.76 points, including a giant 104.34 points on their final dive, a forward 4½. Daley and Williams scored 422.37 points to capture silver and an Olympic berth for Great Britain. Ukraine’s Kirill Boliukh and Oleksii Sereda, claimed the bronze, less than 16 points behind the Brits.

In addition, Canada, Australia, and Germany earned the right to compete in men’s 10m synchro at the Paris 2024 Olympics by finishing fifth, sixth, and seventh (behind the 2023 world championship medalists).

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Gold medalist Yang said that the 2024 title felt different than his previous two because so many nations were chasing Olympic spots. (China, Ukraine, and Mexico had already qualified by earning medals at the 2023 world championships.)  Plus, he said, “almost all the rest of the Chinese divers have finished their events. They were cheering for us tonight – which is a good thing but, at the same time it made us a little anxious."

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Silver medalist Daley said, “I’m super happy as it’s my first-ever silver medal at the world championship” and admitted that his comeback “started off as one of those silly ideas. I went into this [event] being like, ‘No matter what happens, I get to go home and see my babies,’” referring to Robbie and his little brother, Phoenix, born March 28, 2023.

Ukrainian bronze medalist Sereda said, “I personally did not expect any medals here. Until the third round, I did not believe we could make the podium. We are so proud…we won this competition behind Great Britain.”

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Sereda, 18, and Boliukh,16, normally train in Kyiv but, Sereda said, “We have been traveling a lot before this world championship. We were in Poland, Germany. The biggest challenge is our training in Ukraine due to the war. It is hard to feel comfortable and safe. There are still air alarms and shells flying over our pool so it is hard to stay focused.”

Boliukh, 16, added, “We will fly back home to Ukraine after these championships but I do not know when.”

“We are so proud to represent our country,” Sereda said.


On Friday, China’s Chen Yiwen will try to win her third consecutive women’s individual 3m world title while her teammate Chang Yani will try to add gold to her 2023 silver and 2022 bronze.  Although Canada’s Mia Vallee took silver in 2022 and her teammate Pamela Ware earned bronze in 2023, both were eliminated in prelims. Uncharacteristically, Canada has been completely shut out of the medals so far in Doha.

Beyond that, Saturday will mark the last day of diving, beginning with the mixed 3m synchro event followed by the grand finale: men’s 10m platform. Australia’s Cassiel Rousseau, the 2023 world champion, opted not to defend his individual title in Doha. Instead, he was focused on helping Australia qualify for the Olympics in men’s 10m synchro with Domonic Bedggood.  Mission accomplished.