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Dream debut as Ireland's Tanya Watson books place in Olympic diving semi-final

Teenage diver finished 16th overall, with the top 18 progressing to Thursday’s semi-finals.

Watson scored 289.40 to progress to the semi-finals.
Watson scored 289.40 to progress to the semi-finals.
Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

IRELAND’S TANYA WATSON has qualified for the semi-finals of the women’s 10m platform diving competition.

Watson, 19, had already earned her place in the record books as the first woman to represent Ireland in an Olympic diving competition.

And the teenager’s debut at the Games was one to remember as she finished 16th overall in Wednesday morning’s preliminaries with a score of 289.40.

Watson’s tally was her second-best in FINA competition, second only to the 295.50 she scored at the Tokyo World Cup meet earlier this year.

The top 18 scores progressed to Thursday morning’s semi-finals where they’ll compete for 12 places in the final, which takes place later on Thursday.

Watson — who was born in Southampton and is eligible to represent Ireland through her Derry grandmother — started her routine with the pick of her five dives: a back 2 1/2 somersaults and 1 1/2 twists in a pike position.

An opening score of 62.40 immediately put her in contention for a semi-final place in the 30-strong field.

And while Watson hovered around the qualification cut-off throughout the competition, her final dive — an inward 3 1/2 somersaults in a tuck position — was enough to seal her progress.

“I feel great, and just excited to go out there again and do my dives and get through again tomorrow,” Watson said afterwards.

“My first dive was pretty good for me, everything was consistent, so all my dives were on the head.

“But I just need to work on tomorrow, my entries. There was some splash there which I would like to get rid of.

“My first, second, third, fourth, fifth dives, they were all consistent. So I’m really, really happy with that.”

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She added: “My plan into the semi-finals is that I personally want to enjoy it again. I did really good diving today, so I’m really excited to find that again.

“Also tomorrow, I want to work on my entries into the water.”

Damian Ball, Watson’s coach, said: “Consistency is key in these moments and that’s exactly what Tanya showed today. She competed with a cool head with solid dives.

“Today’s score was 18 points higher than the score Tanya achieved to qualify for the Olympic Games. We are looking forward to tomorrow’s semi-final and will fight for a spot in the finals.”

China’s Yuxi Chen, who has already won 10m synchro gold in Tokyo, topped the qualification leaderboard with a score of 390.70.

About the author:

Niall Kelly

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