Valipour snatches 3m springboard gold with retaken dive

18 May 2017
Iranian's Mojtaba Valipour competes during the men's diving 3m springboard at the Baku 2017.
Iranian's Mojtaba Valipour competes during the men's diving 3m springboard at the Baku 2017.

Iranian Mojtaba Valipour snatched a dramatic men's three-metre springboard victory in the first diving final of the 2017 Islamic Solidarity Games in Baku on Thursday.

Valipour had to perform his sixth and last effort twice because of a technical problem, and did enough to pinch gold from Indonesia's Aldiansyah Rafi with an overall total of 338.35 points.

Home hope Dmitriy Sorokin got off to a solid start with 67.50 points for his opening inward two-and-a-half somersault in pike position, which was enough to lead from Iran's Shahnam Nazarpour after the first round.

Sorokin managed another decent effort for his second dive, but saw his lead cut by Valipour, who scored an excellent 72.85 for his forward three-and-a-half somersault.

The Azeri showed a chink in his armour just before the halfway stage by entering the water far from straight.

He was given just 57.00 points, and it was Indonesia's Rafi who took advantage to move to within three points of the lead in second place.
Rafi stuttered, but Sorokin produced an awful attempt to drop almost 20 points behind his rival.

The standard of the competition was low, with plenty of scores below 50.

Sorokin had a chance to hit back with his penultimate dive, a back two-and-a-half somersault with one-and-a-half twists in pike, but his entry was dreadful again and he scored just 44.20.

That left Iran's Valipour as Rafi's only real competitor for gold going into the final dives, as he trailed by only 13.55 points with a difficulty of 3.4 to come.

The pressure told as Rafi made a tsunami on entry and was awarded a mere 31.50, to blow the final wide open.

Sorokin came up just short and had to settle for bronze, before all eyes turned to Valipour's final forward two-and-a-half somersault with two twists in pike.

But then came drama, as after the Iranian appeared to struggle a little, he had to repeat the dive because of a technical issue.

Valipour grabbed the second chance with both hands and a decent dive that scored 51.00, which was enough to take the title.

© AFP Services

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