Keeney misses out on third diving medal at Doha worlds

Ian Chadband |

Maddison Keeney in action during her medal near-miss in the world 3m springboard in Doha.
Maddison Keeney in action during her medal near-miss in the world 3m springboard in Doha.

Australian diving luminary Maddison Keeney has narrowly missed out on her quest to win an eighth world championship medal, and a third in the 2024 edition, in Doha.

Keeney, twice a global gold medallist, had to settle for fourth place in Friday’s 3m springboard final after a duel for the bronze with South Korean Kim Suji.

After topping the scores in the preliminary round, the experienced Brisbane diver harboured hopes of adding another medal to the bronze she had won in the mixed team 3m and 10m event and the silver she picked up in the women’s 3m synchro with Anabelle Smith.

With gold and silver a straight Chinese duel between eventual victor Chang Yani and teammate Chen Yiwen, Keeney enjoyed a promising start when she lay third after the first of her five dives.

But a poor second effort, which ensured she slumped back to seventh overall, eventually proved fatal to her hopes as she had to play catch-up for the rest of the competition.

Keeney, who won the 1m springboard event at the worlds seven years ago, closed on Kim to within seven points going into the last dive, but eventually had to settle for fourth on 302.95 points to the Korean’s 311.25.

Yani Chang dives to gold
Yani Chang producing one of her five brilliant dives in the 3m springboard final. (AP PHOTO)

Chen, the two-time reigning world champion who had led the semi-final qualification, had been expected to triumph but Chang produced five brilliant dives to lead after every round and finish with 354.75 to her compatriot’s 336.60.

It was China’s eighth diving gold of the week, to which the aquatics powerhouse also added a sixth artistic swimming gold in the team free event. 

That’s 14 golds medals in 26 events through the first eight days of the championships, with the main action in the swimming pool set to get under way over the weekend.

In the water polo, Australia’s men lost their second match of the championships, going down 15-9 to European champions Spain on Friday, but they’ve already done enough to earn a second-round knockout fixture.

But that’s not enough for Sharks coach Tim Hamill, who said: “We don’t just want to be competitive. We want to win these games. 

“We are playing much better than we were two years ago but we want to compete; we want to win and we want to challenge deep into these tournaments. On the back of that we’re disappointed with losing.”