Ripon diver Jack Laugher clinches Bronze at Diving World Cup in China

Jack Laugher (Picture by Keith Allen)
Jack Laugher (Picture by Keith Allen)
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Ripon sensation Jack Laugher cemented his place as the world’s third best diver off the 3m springboard in China at the weekend.

A superb score in his penultimate dive secured Laugher a first major senior international medal with a bronze at the FINA Diving World Cup on Saturday.

The 19-year-old, who qualified for the final by finishing second in his semi-final, recovered from a mistimed third dive to score 488.20 overall.

The score was more than 15 marks below the British Record he achieved in April.

But it was good enough to beat off Ukrainian Illya Kvasha by just over two points for the final spot on the podium.

China claimed the top two places as He Chong (540.35) won gold and Cao Yuan (526.70) took silver.

A podium finish had looked far from guaranteed for Laugher after a disappointing opening effort.

But he hauled himself back into contention with a second-round score of 94.50 for his reverse 3.5 somersaults with tuck.

The teenager dropped to eighth, however, after an over-rotated entry on his third dive.

But an excellent 102.60 in the second to last round - a forward 4.5 somersaults tucked - sent him back into the medal places.

Laugher, who has won six medals in this year’s FINA Diving World Series, then held off Kvasha (486.15) with his final dive, scoring 81 for his back 3.5 somersaults.

Afterwards, he tweeted: “Sooooo happy today with my first ever World Cup bronze medal! 3rd in the world baby!!.”

Howeverm the former Ripon Grammar School pupil had a dramatic trip to join his Team England teammates for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

His flight back from China had an emergency landing in Siberia and he was stuck there overnight.

Laugher has a packed schedule of competition at the Games as he will go for gold in three different categories.

He will start his bid for a golden return on Wednesday in his lesser preferred event, the 1m springboard.

A day later, Laugher will return to the water for the 3m springboard, which he will be a short-priced favourite to take gold.

Should the star near his personal best performance, he would be a shoe-in to take top prize - City of Leeds training partner Chris Mears ranked the second best athlete in the world, more than 50 points below him. And the best friends will team up on the final day of Laugher’s Games for the 3m synchro event.

Again, Laugher will be a leading prospect to take a step on the top of the podium in the final, which will take place at 11.33am on August 1.