DOHA, Qatar –  There were two diving finals on Saturday, and the men’s 10m final was another throwdown showdown – this time, absent the 2023 champion, Cassiel Rousseau who opted to focus on 10m synchro here instead. With one round to go in the last event on the last day of diving, only 2.55 points split China’s Yang Hao and Cao Yuan – both of whom were seeking their first world title in the event.

In a heart-stopping final round, Yang prevailed with 564.05 points, followed by Cao with 553.20. Ukraine’s Oleksii Sereda, at 18, firmly claimed bronze with a personal best, 528.65. He had been competing at the senior world championships since 2019, when he was 13.

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Notably, Randal Willars Valdez of Mexico also cracked 500 points, placing fourth, to set up a wild Olympic final on August 10, exactly six months from now.

Earlier, in 3m mixed synchro, experience prevailed, as the top two teams, Australia and Italy, had been medalists previously. For details and a final medal tally in Doha, read on.

Men’s 10m

Here’s how the momentum built:

Round one was a rip-fest as 17 of the 28 scores awarded to the top four divers were 9.0 or higher. Willars Valdez of Mexico led, followed by a three-way tie for second between Sereda, Yang, and Rylan Wiens of Canada, Yang, and Sereda.

In round two, the top three (now Wiens, Yang, and Sereda, in that order) all scored more than 94 points on their dives.

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Cao Yuan effectively won round three, scoring 102.60 on his back 3½ pike, to ascend from sixth place to third.

In round four, Yang threw the same dive as Cao’s earlier round and earned two 10s and five 9.5s (also for 102.60 points). Cao didn’t score triple digits this time, but still tallied 93.60 for his armstand back double with 2½ twists free…and suddenly China was 1-2, with Yang 16.05 points ahead of Cao.

In round five, Cao nailed the toughest dive on his list, a forward 4½ tuck for 99.90 points, shrinking Yang’s edge to a wee 2.55 points. Sereda appeared to be firmly in third, 25.30 points behind Yang.

In the final round: Yang ripped a forward 4½ tuck which snared three 10s and four 9.5s. It added 107.30 points for a 564.05 total. Willars Valdez of Mexico had a 4.1 DD dive to cap the night, but his execution wasn’t precise enough to break up the top three. Cao was last diver of the night so the gold medal depended on his 5255B (back 2½ with 2½ twists pike). He scored exactly 99 points, but in the end, Yang, Cao, and Sereda finished 1-2-3.

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After the victory, Yang, 26, said, “Today was a big challenge for me. Everybody was doing well. I guess it is because 2024 is the year of the Olympics.” The gold medal, he said, “is an important recognition of my hard work,” adding: “This is a breakthrough. I’m very excited about my score today.”

Runner-up Cao, 29, said, “I thought too much during the competition because I wanted my dives to be perfect. I made errors in the first dive which I believe affected my other dives, too. I have to work on my physical and mental strength. I think I’m still technically capable of improving. In the end. I will rate this Doha trip 8.50 out of 10.”

Sereda, the teenager, said, ‘When I saw the bronze medal and the two Chinese competitors ahead of me,  it felt like gold to me. This is my fourth championship and I finally did it. I also beat my record and I am speechless. It is much harder to win [an individual medal] than in synchro because you have two Chinese competitors, two Britons, and other strong guys. I can see the progress and how I move [toward] my dream to become the Olympic champion. Now, I am one step closer to it.

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As for his evolution, Sereda said, “Physically, everything is changing as I am growing up. Also, mentally, it is harder to understand what is happening. In the last four years, I had a lot of problems understanding it.

“I did everything I could to get this medal. I had a lot of preparation. This is not only my medal but of my whole team which is working with me. I am proud to show that in Ukraine, there are strong people, a strong nation.”

Mixed 3m Synchro

In mixed 3m synchro, experience prevailed as two medal-winning pairs from 2023 made the podium again on Saturday afternoon.

Australia’s Maddison Keeney and Domonic Bedggood upgraded their 2023 silver to gold by throwing the hardest dive in the competition in the final round (a forward 2½ with 2 twists, with a 3.4 degree of difficulty) to finish with 300.93 points. The victory made Keeney a two-time world champion in the event. (She also won the 3m mixed synchro title in 2019 with Matthew Carter.)

“I think everyone in the event had a lot of fun,” Keeney said. “There was a lot of good vibes for me this morning.”

Italy’s Chiara Pellacani, 21, and Matteo Santoro, 17, finished second, 13.44 points behind the Aussies, to capture their third world championship medal together. (They also have 2023 bronze and 2022 silver.)

“It's beautiful, this medal, it's insane,” Santoro said. “I really enjoy this competition with Chiara. We are really good friends, almost like brother and sister. So it's perfect. It's amazing to finish second, I love it.”

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South Korea’s new pair Kim Suji, 25, and Yi Jaegyeong, 24, claimed bronze, 2.46 points behind Italy. It was Kim’s second bronze medal in less than 24 hours. (She also placed third in the women’s 3m final on Friday night.)

Kim was so excited by her first medal that she said, “I could not sleep well.” On top of that, she said, “We did not have much time to jump together. We only met twice [for training] before this championship, but we grew up together so we know each other very well. We chose the jumps we felt confident about, the safe ones.”

Now that diving in Doha is over, Yi said, “We will not have much time to celebrate, but maybe we will celebrate tonight on the plane.” (Kim lives in Busan; Yi lives near Seoul, which is two hours north by bullet train.)

Great Britian’s Grace Reid and Ross Haslam were in medal position for most of the event, but finished fourth, 6.75 points off the podium, after scoring only 52.08 points on their hardest dive in the final round (a forward 3½ with 3.1 DD).

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Where the 2024 Diving Medals Went

China (13) 9 Gold 4 Silver  
Great Britain (7) 1 Gold 2 Silver 4 Bronze
Australia (5) 2 Gold 2 Silver 1 Bronze
Mexico (4) 1 Gold 1 Silver 2 Bronze
People’s Democratic Republic of Korea (2)   2 Silver  
Italy (2)   2 Silver  
South Korea (2)     2 Bronze
Ukraine (2)     2 Bronze
Egypt (1)     1 Bronze
Spain (1)     1 Bronze


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