Zakharov and Kuznetsov win 3m synchro with fine last dive


GLASGOW — Russia's Ilia Zakharov and Evgenii Kuznetsov, one of the outstanding partnerships in diving, won their seventh European title together in a dramatic finale to the synchronized three-meter springboard on Friday.

One of the most eagerly-anticipated duels of the week at Edinburgh's Royal Commonwealth Pool between the Russian world champions and Britain's Olympic gold medalists Jack Laugher and Chris Mears lived up to its billing in the closest of contests.

Going into the last of the six dives, the British pair held a healthy 15.42 point lead but a fine dive — four-and-a-half somersaults — by Zakharov and Kuznetsov, which scored a day's best 94.62, changed the complexion of the competition.

Laugher and Mears, under pressure with their last attempt, executed the same dive poorly by their standards, scoring only 78.66 which gave the experienced Russians, who totaled 431.16, victory by a mere 0.54 points.

It was a measure of revenge for Zakharov, the 2012 Olympic champion, who had been beaten into silver in the 3m individual event on Thursday by Laugher, who missed out on completing his own golden treble after his individual springboard double.

It ensured back-to-back European titles for 27-year-old Zakharov and 28-year-old Kuznetsov while Germany's former world 10m synchro champion Patrick Hausding and Lars Ruediger took the bronze with 394.77.

Like her male teammates, Poliakova saved her best for last to surge from fourth place to the gold medal spot with her final two dives, both worth 61.10 points, which were the highest-scoring of the entire competition.

The 21-year-old ended with a 285.55 total for her five dives, beating her teammate Bazhina, who had led after three rounds, by 9.55. Italy's Elena Bertocchi took bronze with 271.25.

"It is kind of cool to have a title to carry," said Poliakova, as she celebrated her first major triumph. On Saturday, she will seek to complete the springboard double in the three-meter event. — Reuters