Canada's Alexandre Despatie Takes Gold in the 3-meter Springboard at Commonwealth Games -- July 27, 2002
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND, July 27. SHEFFIELD'S favourite son Tony Ally won his second silver medal in as many days tonight at the Commonwealth Games diving
Feeding off the crowd urging him on with each dive on the 3 meter springboard, the 28-year-old Ally was on a roll from the start and never looked back.
Gold went to Canada's Alexandre Despatie, who is fast becoming international diving's superstar of the 21st century, following in the footsteps if America's Greg Louganis from the 1980s and Russia's Dimitri Sautin in the 1990s.
Tonight's gold medal on Day 2 of the Commonwealth Games springboard diving competition was always there for him to win.
Ally was second behind Despatie after Round 2, pulling off a back 2.5 somersault piked to the delight of the home crowd. His third round dive not his strongest and he kept his second position behind Despatie going into the fourth round.
By round five Ally pulled off a reverse 2.5 somersault with one and a half twists. He was one of the first people in the world to do this dive some years ago. The home crowd went wild when he scored high eights and two 9s, making a silver medal well and truly in the cards. Despatie was an unbelievable 40 points ahead of Ally after five dives, but Canada's Philippe
Comtois was 19 points behind Ally.
Ally left his favourite dive, a reverse 2.5 somersault piked, until last. This is a dive he's been specializing in for the past 14 years and walking
up the steps to take it he looked like a man on a mission. Stopping to acknowledge the home-crowd before diving, the sellout crowd then became deathly quiet with anticipation. The dive did not disappoint -- far from it, with no fewer than four 9s from the judges. Ally knew what he'd achieved and punched the air with satisfaction and waved to the admiring fans.
Despatie confirmed his gold medal in style, scoring 709.59 points to Ally's 676.26. Robert Newbery of Australia earned the bronze with 656.64. Newbery may have gone into tonight's final of the men's springboard in eighth-place but that was deceptive, as the Australian had left his most difficult dives for the final and it earned him the bronze.
In the final of the women's 10 meter platform, Great Britain's Karen Smith just missed a Commonwealth medal by placing fourth overall behind the equally diminutive figure of Loudy Tourky who achieved her first Commonwealth gold for Australia. Sixteen-year-old Stacie Powell from Kent, the current European Junior Champion in this event, was 10th.
Smith had mixed feelings about her performance.
"I would have liked a little bit more but I knew it would be tough and I gave them a run for their money."
The women's finals finished well after 10pm, later than Stacie Powell might typically go to bed, she admitted.
"It was a good experience with such a big crowd but I'm not used to diving so late at night. I'd normally be in bed by now."
The final day of diving for these Games awaits with the men's 10 meter platform anticipated as a highlight of the competition
-- Bill Bell