Australia has its first world champion in men’s 10-metre platform diving, after Brisbane’s Cassiel Rousseau leapt to the top of the podium in Fukuoka, Japan.
The 22-year-old, who won gold in the 10m platform at last year’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, and competed at the Tokyo Olympics, rose to the occasion in Saturday’s final in which he was ranked ninth after his first dive.
His third attempt – a reverse three-and-a-half somersaults tuck – scored 91.60 points to catapult him from sixth to second on the leaderboard.
Rousseau moved into the lead after his fifth dive, but only by a margin of 1.05 points.
With eight points between the top three divers with one round to go, there was little margin for error.
He nailed his final dive – a forward four-and-a-half somersaults tuck -to score 98.05 points and confirmed his lead and world champion status.
“I knew that I was going to come in first place before that final dive,” Rousseau said.
“I was not as nervous as I thought I would be with so much on the line.
“Rather than being nervous I was just excited by the realisation of the fact that I actually had the possibility of taking the gold medal.”
Having made the switch to diving from gymnastics a little over five years ago, Rousseau said he was thrilled to get this result this early in his career.
“I have no doubt that I have made leaps and bounds in my diving abilities since the last Olympics,” Rousseau said.
“To get a gold medal so early in my career is just incredible.”
Rousseau’s victory denied China a clean sweep of diving gold medals at this event, with Junjie Lian and Yang Hao finishing second and third respectively.
Even before Rousseau’s gold, the final day of diving competition at the World Aquatics Championships proved to be Australia’s most successful, with Domonic Bedggood and Maddison Keeney taking silver in the mixed 3m springboard.
Australia will leave Japan with two diving quota spots for next year’s Olympics in Paris, the second coming through Rousseau.
More opportunities to qualify diving quotas will come at the next instalment of the World Aquatics Championships, in Doha, Qatar in February 2024.