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By Ian Hanson
Home town hero Domonic Bedggood has taken a leap into diving’s history books becoming only the fifth Australian diver to win Commonwealth Games 10 metre platform gold.
Bedggood, a 23-year-old Gold Coast local, won Australia’s third gold medal in the diving pool joining Melissa Wu (women’s 10m platform) and Georgia Sheehan and Esther Qin (three metre synchronised springboard) in a highly successful program for the tight knit diving troupe.
Australia finished on top of the total medal count with three gold, three silver and five bronze for a total of 11 medals, with England on top of the gold medal count with four gold, three silver and one bronze for eight medals and Canada with one gold, four silver and one bronze for six medals.
Bedggood started out brilliantly with his first three dives before England’s likely youngster Matt Dixon snatched the lead after the fifth of six dives. Then the leading divers all let fly with their final flings and for Bedggood it was “the Matt Mitcham Beijing gold medal dive” the 2 ½ somersaults with 2 ½ twists and a degree of difficulty (DD) of 3.6, with a moderate score of 70 points.
For Dixon, who held a one-point lead over Bedggood, it was the 2 ½ somersaults with 1 ½ twists – and a DD of 3.2, but he didn’t quite nail it, leaving Bedggood to take the gold with 415.15 to Dixon’s 449.55 and Canadian Vincent Riendeau the bronze with 425.40.
Bedggood joins previous Australians, the legendary Don Wagstaff (1970 and 1974), Craig Rogerson (1986) Michael Murphy (1994) and Matt Helm (2006) on the gold medal list on tower.
He and Wu also join Helm and Loudy Tourky as the second Australian pair to win the coveted 10m platform at the same Games.
“I’m actually in disbelief,” said Bedggood, “After my final dive I honestly thought I had the silver and then when the scores came up (after Matt’s) final dive and I saw I won the gold, I considered myself very lucky to win,” said Bedggood.
“I guess I’ve got mixed emotions for the moment and it’s my first major competition (on 10m) but for me it’s all about Tokyo 2020 and I’m going to give myself a few days off and get back into training (for the World Cups and World Series).
“There were a lot of good things that came out of this and things that we will analyze and scrap and that’s all in the build up to Tokyo.
“It’s so important to pick myself up, keep the routine and don’t let anything disturb me.”
Earlier, Australia’s world champion diver and Olympic bronze medallist Maddison Keeney said her 3m springboard silver medal felt like it was gold.
The 21-year-old Rio bronze medallist and one metre springboard world champion showed extraordinary mental toughness to bounce back with silver which saw her synchro partner Anabelle Smith taking the bronze.
Keeney produced a failed dive in the crucial final round with Smith on the opening day and then withdrew from the one metre springboard, deciding to nurse her shin splints, but four days later the girls were back on the boards and diving for gold.
After five rounds in the final Keeney finished with silver with 366.45 points – but so close to gold – beaten for the top of the podium by less than half a point by Canada’s Jennifer Abel (366.95) with Smith third (336.90).
“It would not have mattered whether I finished with a medal or finished last – I’m just really happy with the way I came back,” said Keeney, who put her comeback down to her experience.
“Of course, there are nerves and I struggled a bit this morning with the old jelly legs, but I came in tonight with a fresh mindset and fresh perspective on what I need to do.
“I’ve been through it before and if I hadn’t then I don’t think I would have reacted so positively. I’m just so happy with how I went out there and couldn’t be more proud of myself.
“I think it was the right decision (to withdraw from the one metre event) because I have been struggling with the (shin splints) injury this year in my lower legs and I have had to cut back my training.
“I’ve had blocks and weeks off with less competitions which has not been the ideal preparation.
“I could have done one metre but I think it was the right decision to strip it because in the end I’m a three metre diver and it’s a three metre event at the Olympics and that’s my aim.”
Keeney also praised her partner Smith for sticking by her through thick and thin.
“Annabel is just incredible, she is always there for me, she’s like my sister and I couldn’t have done it without her because she’s such a positive influence on me. She is always there supporting me and I am so grateful for her not ditching me after I stacked it.”