Tokyo 2020 Olympics: Scots diver James Heatly overcomes nerves to make 3m springboard semi-final

Scottish diver James Heatly overcame a bout of nerves to progress to the semi-finals of the 3m springboard event.

James Heatly competes in the Men's 3m Springboard Preliminary Round
James Heatly competes in the Men's 3m Springboard Preliminary Round

The Edinburgh-based athlete was making his Olympic debut, following in the footsteps of late grandfather Sir Peter Heatly, who competed at the London 1948 Games.

Heatly, 24, began his programme with a Back 2½ Somersaults, pike, earning him 66.00 points but after his second-round dive – an Inward 3½ Somersaults, tuck – he was occupying 20th place, with the top 18 divers progressing.

Compatriot Grace Reid had endured the heartache of finishing just outside the qualification places earlier in the Olympics but Heatly put in a strong showing in his remaining dives.

His fourth shot, a Reverse 3½ Somersaults, tuck scored 85.75 and he moved up to ninth on the leader board. He kept it up with his fifth dive, a Reverse 1½ Somersaults, 3½ Twists, free that moved him up even further into eighth, with one dive remaining.

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The Scot pulled off an impressive Forward 4½ Somersaults, tuck for his final effort and his score of 96.90 ensured his final overall total of 458.40 was enough to secure him fourth place and a spot in the semi-finals on Tuesday.

Speaking afterwards, Heatly said: “Just to be here competing is amazing. To make it through to the semi-finals, I can't believe it.

"I was a bit shaky going into the last rounds. I know everyone has been a bit shaky, a bit rusty, and out of practice for competitions.

"I had to remind myself of that. It's not over until its over and I guess I eased into it. I know what I want to do here and what I want to achieve so for me, it's about surviving the rounds. Job one is done and we move onto the next round."

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The only downside for Heatly at his first Games is the absence of relatives cheering him on.

"I am loving every second of it, but I am upset my family can't be here, they follow me all over the world and leaving them behind was the hardest thing,” he added.

Heatly’s Team GB colleague Jack Laugher is also through to the semi-finals after placing sixth in the preliminary event while Yona Knight-Wisdom, another Edinburgh Diving team-mate, also progressed thanks to finishing in 13th place.

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