Aussie Koloi dives to springboard gold at world titles

Ian Chadband |

Alysha Koloi with her gold medal after winning the world championships 1m springboard final in Doha.
Alysha Koloi with her gold medal after winning the world championships 1m springboard final in Doha.

Australia’s Alysha Koloi says she’s in total shock at becoming a world champion diver.

The 22-year-old has unexpectedly triumphed in the women’s one-metre springboard on the opening day of the world titles in Doha, Qatar.

The event was Koloi’s first outing at her maiden senior world championships.

“I’m still shocked … this is a big surprise,” Koloi said.

“It’s my first worlds – I’m stoked.”

Koloi, a former gymnast who only started diving eight years ago after watching her younger sister Sophie in the sport, entered the event for a hit-out ahead of her 3m springboard competition at the championships.

But she took the lead on the fourth of her five dives and held on in the final round to finish with a winning total of 260.50 points.

“I was doing this competition to get a feel for the environment and get used to having a crowd, big atmosphere and lots of cameras and interviews,” she said.

“I’m glad I’ve got it over and done with and we’ll see how we go with the three metre.”

Koloi won ahead of Great Britain’s Grace Reid (257.25) while Egypt’s Maha Amer took the bronze – her country’s first diving medal at a worlds.

Australian quartet of Cassiel Rousseau, Maddison Keeney, Nikita Hains and Li Shixin collected a bronze medal in the mixed team diving event behind the victorious Tom Daley-led British quartet.

Koloi wins
Koloi’s victory ensured Australia picked up gold on the opening day of the championships. (AP PHOTO)

“We started off a little bit rocky and that rattled the team a little bit,” Hains said.

“But we got behind each other and we just went from stride to stride after that.

“We could feel ourselves getting better and better as we went along and the team ended up really well … that was a really exciting thing for us.”

Daley, the Olympic 10-metre synchro champion, took his first international crown since taking a year-long break from the sport, as he was joined on the winning GB team by Scarlett Mew Jensen, Daniel Goodfellow and Andrea Spendolini Sirieix.

Aussie medallists
Australia’s diving bronze medallists in the mixed 3m &10m team event. (EPA PHOTO)

They posted a score of 421.65, beating the Mexican foursome of Gabriela Agundez Garcia, Randal Willars Valdez, Jahir Ocampo Marroquin and Aranza Vazquez Montano (412.80).

Australia’s team, led by 10m platform world champ Rousseau, came third on 385.35.

Rousseau, the only non-Chinese winner at last summer’s world championships in Fukuoka, has decided not to defend his individual crown in Doha, while focusing on team and synchro events.

With AP