2021 European Aquatics Championships: Hentschel-Punzel, Bondar Win Tight Diving Events

European Championships HENTSCHEL Lena GER PUNZEL Tina GER 3m Synchro Women Springboard Final Diving Budapest - Hungary 16/5/2021 Duna Arena XXXV LEN European Aquatic Championships Photo Giorgio Perottino / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto
Lena Hentschel and Tina Punzel. Photo Courtesy: Giorgio Perottino / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Great Britain diver Tom Daley received 10 perfect marks of 10.0 in the platform final, but not even those were enough against Russia’s Aleksandr Bondar, who put together a stunning gold-medal performance at the European Championships.

The women’s diving had similar drama as the slimmest winning margin ever recorded at European Championships happened when Lena Hentschel and Tina Punzel of Germany edged out Italy’s Elena Bertocchi and Chiara Pellacani by 0.09 points in the women’s 3-meter synchro.

The two women’s duo’s scores were similar during the entire session, though the Italians had a weaker second jump (44.40, each mark under 8.0) but they came up with the highest-scoring dive of the final in the fourth for 74.40 points and took over the lead by 1.20. The quality of the last attempts was not superb but the Germans’ had a higher degree of difficulty (3.1 vs 3.0) and even though the marks were almost the same, that gave them the winning edge by 0.09 point, finishing with 307.29.

“It is unbelievable, it was a really nice competition for me and to compete with Tina is always a pleasure for me, I am really happy to have her by my side. It was a great competition with incredible results, so we are really happy,” Hentschel said.

It was a huge relief for Punzel who had five silver medals and a bronze in this event since 2014 – now she claimed gold at last. The battle for the bronze was just as tight – it came down to 0.3 points, which favored the Russians Uliana Kliueva and Vitaliia Koroleva over Great Britain’s Grace Reid and Katherine Torrence.

“It was really close at the end, but I think I won 5 silver medals in this event at the previous European Championships, so I kind of deserved the gold medal this time,” Puntzel said. “We are really happy, we work really hard together. Lena moved to Dresden in order to train together and all the hard work we did together finally paid off.”

The men’s 10-meter proved to be a stunning finale at the European Championships. Title-holder Oleksi Sereda kicked off the event receiving three 10s to his opening dive but Russians Viktor Minibaev and Aleksandr Bondar also began the evening in style, not to mention world champion Tom Daley who also received three perfect marks in the opening round.

Bondar’s 564.35 points in total was stellar at the European Championships, though the Arena’s record still belongs to Daley who had won at the 2017 Worlds with 590.

More from the meet

It was a fitting end to the diving competition at the European Championships – and these two more medals secured that Russia won the Team Trophy, Germany was the runner-up, ahead of Great Britain.