Saturday 22 October 2016

Dingley dives into history to take semi-final spot sportsdesk

Published 16/08/2016 | 02:30

Oliver Dingley of Ireland in action yesterday. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Oliver Dingley of Ireland in action yesterday. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Oliver Dingley, Ireland's first diver in 68 years to compete at an Olympic Games, has qualified for the semi-final of the 3m springboard after a 13th place finish in last night's preliminaries at Rio's Maria Lenk Aquatic Stadium.

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Ireland has only ever had one other diver compete at the Olympics, Dubliner Eddie Heron in London in 1948. Heron withdrew from the Games after the preliminary round along with his team-mates in protest over the banning of Northern Irish swimmers, and Ireland has not been represented in the discipline since.

English-born Dingley (right), who qualified for the Games at the Maria Lenk Stadium in February, started well with a 66.00 to go through the first round in 20th place, but moved up to 12th after a round two score of 74.40 points.

A solid score of 61.20 in round three saw the 23-year-old move to 14th place before heading back to 12th after a back two-and-a-half somersault scored him 72 points for 273.60 points overall.

A drop for 48 points in the fifth dive saw Dingley drop down to 16th, but he finished with his best score in his final, most difficult dive, a back two-and-a-half somersault, one and a half twists, to score 78.20 for 399.80 points overall and a place in the semi-final.

China's Yuan Cao progressed as the top qualifier with 498.70 points while London 2012 champion Ilia Zakharov of Russia went through in 18th place on 389.90 points.

The semi-final will take place at 2.0 Irish time today, with the top 12 progressing to the final at 10.0.

Irish Independent

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