Glory for Heatly in Baku as he bags third medal

James Heatly is now Team GB's most decorated athlete in Baku. Picture: Getty
James Heatly is now Team GB's most decorated athlete in Baku. Picture: Getty
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James Heatly completed a full set of diving medals at the European Games in Baku when he won gold in the men’s three-metre springboard event.

The 18-year-old Scot had already taken one-metre springboard bronze, and three-metre synchronised springboard silver in Azerbaijan and his confidence was evident as he scored 541.65 points, more than 18 points clear of the rest of the field.

Team GB’s most decorated athlete at the Games was in the medal positions for much of the final in the Baku Aquatics Centre but gold looked in doubt with Russian Ilia Molchanov in pole position.

However, the Russian struggled with his penultimate dive and Edinburgh’s Heatly held his nerve with his final dive, a back two-and-a-half somersault, to complete an outstanding hat-trick of medals.

“At the beginning of the event I didn’t think I would do it. But when he (Ilia Molchanov) dropped that dive (fourth dive) I thought there was a chance,” Heatly said.

“I didn’t think I was going to win anything. I’m over the moon to win three medals, especially as I didn’t expect it. I’m going to go and see my parents now and give my grandad [former Commonwealth champion Peter Heatly] a call.”

Katherine Torrance battled the nerves to collect Team GB’s third diving gold of the European Games after triumphing in the women’s 3m 
springboard.

Torrance, who topped the qualification scores with 431.15, held off the competition in the final and produced a back 2½ somersault with the final dive of the contest to seal the gold with 448.25.

The 16 year old was joined in the final by Lydia Rosenthall, who finished in eighth position with 395.60 having qualified for the final with the second highest score.

Torrance follows in the footsteps of Heatly and Lois Toulson in topping the diving podium at Baku 2015 and takes Team GB’s total number of golds up to seven.

Torrance said: “That was my aim, so I’m glad I got it. It means everything to win gold. It is a step forwards in the right direction, because if you can do it here you can do it wherever. It gives me a lot of confidence.

“I was a bit nervous, because when you qualify first there is a bit more pressure to keep it up. But I didn’t let it get to me and I tried to keep calm.

“I tried not to focus on other people’s scores, but on the last dive when I saw that there was three points difference it did get to me a bit. When I was on the board I was a bit nervous, but I knew I had to try my best. I’m not sure I like the pressure, but it seems to be a good thing.

“It is great at the moment. We’ve had James (Heatly) and Lois (Toulson) diving amazingly, so to be another person added to that is good.”