After a successful edition in 2018, Kyiv once again hosted the FINA World Junior Diving Championships last December 2-9, 2021. The event was initially planned for 2020 but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The championship had 17 events where medals were awarded to the top performers. Over 200 participants from 25 countries aged 15 to 19 years participated. Note that the eligible age groups for this competition were reviewed to ensure that divers who were eligible to compete in 2020 can still compete here. Therefore, as a one-time exception at this edition, the following age categories for athletes were composed: Age Group A – 17, 18 and 19 years, and Age Group B: 15 and 16 years.
The President of the Ukrainian Diving Federation, Ihor Lysov, made it possible that the championship will be held at the highest level. Therefore, all participants were satisfied with the event’s organization as it was in 2018. Previously, we made an announcement for this event, highlighting all important points to know in this publication. As usual, Sports4world will give an extensive review at the end of this mega sports event. So prepare your coffee or tea and enjoy this long read.
Day 1: The Opening Ceremony and an Italian Triumph
The XXIII FINA World Junior Diving Championships 2021 (WJDC2021) started at the beautiful Liko Sports Complex in Kyiv on December 2. The opening ceremony was led by the president of the Ukrainian Diving Federation, Ihor Lysov, and FINA TDC Chairman Bashar Alsaffar.
Let the Competition Begin!
Nine mixed teams competed in the team event which lasted five rounds – the 1m, 3m springboards, and 10m platform, in individual and synchronized formats. In addition, athletes made five classes of dives. In the end, the team from Italy won the first gold medal of the FINA World Junior Championships 2021 by collecting 309.95 points. Russia finished second (309.60) as Sweden rounded out the podium (293.50). Italy was comprised of Chiara Pellacani, Riccardo Giovannini and Matteo Santoro.
Chiara Pellacani, Mixed Team Event gold medalist
“We are delighted because it is the first competition, and, as you see, we have a very nice start. We worked as a team today. We hoped for a medal, but not a gold one. And we are so pleased now. It is my first world gold medal. Here is a very nice organization in COVID-19 conditions.”
Uliana Klueva, Mixed Team Event silver medallist
“Of course, I would like gold, but as a whole, I am pleased with our performance. Everything went well, and we performed well. Most of all, I am satisfied with my dive – two and a half somersault pike. I will also perform individual and synchro events on the 1m and 3m springboards.”
David Ekdahl, Mixed Team Event bronze medallist
“I am so satisfied with our team’s performance. We trained very hard, and we got results. This is my first world championship medal, and I feel thrilled and proud. Here in Kyiv, I feel very safe despite COVID-19. I am glad that the championship took place. We came here and enjoyed the competition. We spent a lot of time in the pool, focusing on performance.”
Day 2: A Tie for Gold
A Unique Situation
The second day of the WJDC2021 gave us a remarkable result as Brazilian Kawan Figueredo Pereira and Ukrainian Danylo Konovalov scored the same number of points and shared the top spot in the Boys 3m springboard A event. Colombian Leonardo Garcia Varela finished third with 521.95 points.
After the preliminary round, Dongmin Joung (KOR) emerged as the leader with 533.60 points. However, the young Korean did not manage to keep the pace in the final round by not performing well on his most difficult dive, the 5156B. He only managed to finish in 11th position.
Danylo Konovalov (Ukraine), Boys 3m springboard A co-winner
“I was hoping to get the medal. I did everything for this and learned as much as possible in training. I am very pleased to be first.”
Kawan Figueredo Pereira (Brazil), Boys 3m springboard A co-winner
“I am thrilled. It is not my primary discipline because I am a platform diver. But I have some goals here, and I think I achieved one of these. Next will be on the platform, I hope. The secret of every diver is calmness, patience, and listening to what your coach says. I don’t mind being one of the two champions. We both worked hard and deserved it.”
Leonardo Garcia Varela (Colombia), Boys 3m springboard A bronze medallist
“I have been working very hard for this. I trusted in myself and all the work I had done before. I was unsure if I got the medal, but I was aiming for this. It was a comeback for me since I had an injury before. Returning after an injury and getting a medal are such great emotions. This is the best thing that has ever happened to me.”
The Girls 1m springboard B event did not actually bring any surprise. The three leaders in the preliminary round repeated their success in the final with remarkable accuracy.
Johanna Krauss of Germany won her first world title with 341.95 points on account of her successful performance in her last dive, a 105B. Krauss edged out then-leader Elisa Pizzini of Italy. Kseniia Bailo from the host country Ukraine finished behind the two competitors for the bronze medal.
Johanna Krauss (Germany), Girls 1m springboard B winner
“It’s a very nice feeling of being the world champion. This is unexpected, but I am delighted and proud of myself. It’s my first Junior diving world championship and my first title. The last dive, 105B, was the most difficult for me. I was a little nervous.»
Elisa Pizzini (Italy), Girls 1m springboard B silver medallist
“I’m a little upset. Usually, I dive better than today, but I’m glad of the medal anyway. Reverse 1 1/2 Som Twist 1 1/2 was the hardest for me. It’s my first medal this season and the first world medal.”
Kseniia Bailo (Ukraine), Girls 1m springboard B bronze medalist
“The preliminary round was much more difficult. Springboard is not my main discipline because I’m a platform diver. First of all, I competed with myself. In the final, I scored more points than in the morning session. In general, I am satisfied with my performance.”
Day 3: Germany Bags Two Golds as Six Nations Win Medals
A busy Day 3 of the championships saw athletes from Germany, Russia, and Ukraine climb the podium twice out of the three events. Korea also managed to bring home its first medal.
Second Gold for Germany in the Girls 1m Springboard
Emilia Nilsson Garip of Sweden took the early lead in the preliminary round of the Girls 1m springboard A event with 395.85 points. However, her second dive in the final round pulled down her mark to earn her a bronze medal with 389.45 points. Finishing ahead of Garip is Uliana Klueva of Russia who repeated her silver medal finish three years ago in Kyiv. Jette Muller of Germany emerged as the winner of the event after placing 8th in the preliminaries as she collected 392.35 points for the narrow win.
Jette Muller (Germany), Girls 1m springboard A winner,
“I am very grateful for my victory, and I am also very thankful. The last dive was the most successful for me and the most difficult. I also want to win a medal in 3 meters and synchro in this Championships.”
Uliana Klueva (Russia), Girls 1m springboard A silver medalist
“Of course, I’m glad that it ended up with winning a medal, but it is a bit of pity that it was not enough to win. This is my fourth silver in the world championships, and I finally want to get gold. We need to work harder.”
Emilia Nilsson Garip (Sweden), Girls 1m springboard A bronze medalist
“I’m so happy with my success. The competition was interesting and hard, but at the end of the day, I managed to save a spot on the podium.”
An Exciting Finale
Ukraine notched its second gold in the championship courtesy of local bet Kseniia Bailo, who also brought home her second medal of the week. After claiming the bronze medal in the Girls 1m springboard B event, Bailo added the Girls platform B event gold medal to her collection.
Bailo led the morning preliminaries with 338.15 points but had a tough competition in the final. Russian Uliana Manaenkova challenged Bailo dive after dive. Manaenkova earned 65.80 points from a reverse dive off the bat to claim temporary leadership. But a good mark in the last 5253B dive of Bailo allowed her to reach the podium’s top spot with a total of 328.35 points. Spain’s Ana Carvajal claimed the bronze medal behind the two competitors.
Kseniia Bailo (Ukraine), Girls platform B winner
“It was much easier to compete in the morning. Before the first dive in the final, I was excited. At a single moment, something went wrong, and I still do not understand until now. But I did not want to let my medal go at all. I followed through and reached my goal. The preparation was tremendous. We had a serious training session in Turkey and here is our work. I want to thank our president of the Ukrainian Diving Federation, Igor Lysov, my coaches, parents, friends, and everyone who helped me!”
Ana Carvajal (Spain), Girls platform B bronze medalist
“I am very proud. I wasn’t sure if I would win a medal. I didn’t count my points. I think that reverse 2 ½ somersaults were the most difficult dive for me today.”
The Most Unexpected Event
An intense battle for the podium occurred in the Boys 3m synchronized springboard A/B event. The Russian duo of Ivan Karpov and Maksim Malofeev were leading through three dives but had a hiccup in their fourth dive, a reverse 3½ somersaults. They eventually finished in 5th place.
Ukraine’s Bohdan Chyzhovskyi and Danylo Konovalov nearly claimed the victory, but Konovalov stepped on the edge of the springboard while doing the forward 2½ somersaults, one twist which dropped them to second with 282.36.
Merely half a point ahead was the German pair of Espen Prenzyna and Jonathan Gisbert Schauer who won the event with 282.81 points.
Consistently in third place was the Korean duo of Dongmin Joung and Yeongho Kim who finished with 278.31 points for the bronze medal. Their third dive, a forward 3½ somersaults, received 69.75 points, which was the highest-scoring dive of the session.
Espen Prenzyna (Germany), Boys 3m synchronized springboard A/B winner
“Exciting feelings. I and Jonathan have been training together for only 3 or 4 weeks. We had our first competition together, and we have already won gold! We have been working hard during this short time and reached such a good result. Dive 305B was the most difficult for me because I was already a little nervous, but we had to focus, and we made it!”
Jonathan Gisbert Schauer (Germany), Boys 3m synchronized springboard A/B winner
“I can not believe that we are the world champions! My heart was pounding so much during the last dive that I thought it would dive out of my chest”
Bohdan Chyzhovskyi (Ukraine), Boys 3m synchronized springboard A/B silver medalist
“I have wanted this award for two years; I planned to get it at the European Youth Championship but it didn’t work out, and now I’m glad to have it. Although we lost by half a point, and that’s sad but so close. To avoid such mistakes, we need to train hard.”
Danylo Konovalov, Boys 3m synchronized springboard A/B silver medalist
“With a fighting spirit, we went to the start and tuned in to get first. We didn’t make the beginning of the first 403B dive, although we have trained it for a long time”
Day 4: Germany is Unstoppable!
With a crop of top young talents, Germany claims two more gold medals and looks excellent in this edition of the FINA World Junior Diving Championships.
A German Prodigy
Germany’s Jette Muller, who earlier won the Girls 1m springboard A, confirmed that she is also the best Grils 3m springboard diver. After the second dive, a reverse 2½ somersaults, she took the lead and did not leave her opponents any chance despite some imperfections in her last dive, 405B. Her final score of 438.90 points was 1.60 points ahead of Russia’s Elizaveta Kuzina, and 13.90 points ahead of Italy’s Chiara Pellacani of Italy.
Jette Muller (Germany), Girls 3m springboard A winner
“I am thrilled with my performance, and I hope I will stand hereafter the synchro final too. 1 meter was easy because I could do more twists there. Today, the most challenging dive for me was the Inward 2.5 somersaults. I want to say that this pool brings me luck. Before that, I was in Kуiv three times. It is my second home.”
Elizaveta Kuzina (Russia), Girls 3m springboard A silver medalist
“This is my first award at the World Championships. Although I could have performed better, I missed the last dive. It was hard to dive in the morning, but I dived, and everything was fine in the evening. I’m happy. I like everything here, perfect conditions – food, accommodations, the pool itself – all at the highest level.”
Chiara Pellacani (Italy), Girls 3m springboard A bronze medalist
“A medal is always a medal. I am satisfied with this result. Although, I could have dived better. But, I must say, I had powerful rivals.”
The Best Birthday Gift
Another German in Jonathan Gisbert Schauer ruled the Boys 1m springboard B event. Schauer collected his first individual gold medal and second overall, following the previous win with partner Espen Prenzyna in the Boys 3m synchronized springboard A/B event.
The German had competition, however, as Colombian Tomas Tamayo Meneses, who led before the last round of dives, amassed 413.15 points compared to Schauer’s 416.70 points. Celebrating his birthday, Croatian Matej Nevescanin, who turned 15, finished third with 403.05 points.
Jonathan Gisbert Schauer (Germany), Boys 1m springboard B winner
“I am speechless because it is my first Junior World Championship. Two finals and two golds! I cannot even imagine that I would be a two-time world champion. The most difficult dive was 5152B because I learned it just two weeks ago. Since I was five years old, I have been diving, and now I am delighted to see the result.”
Tomas Tamayo Meneses (Colombia), Boys 1m springboard B silver medalist
“Competitions were tough, powerful opponents. I coped with my goal and represented my country with dignity, and this one was an honor for me. I have been diving for over five years, and I am delighted with this success.”
Matej Nevescanin (Croatia), Boys 1m springboard B bronze medalist
“This is the best gift I have ever imagined for my birthday! The open dive 303 B was the most difficult for me. And then everything went like clockwork. I also felt the support of my team. The guys cheered for me in the tribunes, I heard that. Thank them for that. They are the best!”
Day 5: Russia and France Collect First Gold Medals as Teen-Sensation Sereda is Unopposed
First Russian Gold
Five pairs of divers were gunning for medals in the Girls synchronized platform A/B event. However, the Russian duo of Ekaterina Beliaeva and Anna Konanykhina submitted the most challenging and ambitious dive program which put them at an advantage to win. After performing two 3½ DD dives, it was clear that their 283.83 points would win them the gold medal.
Apart from the Russians, the Colombian pair of Tiffany Brawn Lozada and Mariana Osorio consistently held second place after the second round to emerge as the silver medalists.
The teams from Korea (Nahyun Kim and Seoyeon Kim) and Italy (Maia Biginelli and Elettra Neroni) battled for the final podium spot where the latter emerged victorious. The Italians finished almost 9 points clear of the Koreans with 224.10 points. At the previous FINA World Junior Championships 2018 in Kyiv, the same pair were a step away from the podium, finishing fourth.
Anna Konanykhina (Russia), Girls synchronized platform A/B winner
“We hoped that we would be able to break this series of failures and finally take the gold for the Russian team. At the start, we were calm and concentrated. Our coaches told us to dive as well as possible. And we did our best. We like how Ukraine has prepared for this championship. Everything is well-organized, the testing system is well thought out, everyone keeps a safe distance, and everything is acceptable and comfortable.”
Tiffany Brawn Lozada and Mariana Osorio (Colombia), Girls synchronized platform A/B silver medalists
“We are delighted to participate and much happier to win the silver medal. We have been waiting for this competition for a long time, and we are satisfied with our result. We had strong rivals, but we managed to do our dives well and get on the podium.”
Elettra Neroni (Italy), Girls synchronized platform A/B bronze medalist
“We are so happy. We could do better, Maia and I, but we had only two days of training together here in Kyiv. However, of course, we are happy to win the medal. Dive 107B was the hardest for us as I had a problem with this dive two years ago. That’s why I always worry when I perform it. I like Kyiv. I would also like to come here for competition again.”
First Gold Medal for France
Jules Bouyer of France led the Boys 1m springboard A event since the morning preliminary session and finished 20.65 points clear of his nearest challenger, Moritz Wesemann of Germany. Bouyer led from start to finish of the five-rounder final posting two reverse dives (reverse 2½ somersault and reverse 1½ somersaults, 2½ twists) for an impressive score of 502.10 points.
Buoyed by his final two dives where he scored 70.50 points for the 107C dive and 70.40 points for the 5152B dive, Wesemann secured second place collecting 481.45 points.
Brazilian Kawan Figueredo Pereira beat out the Ukrainian contender, Danylo Konovalov, for the bronze thanks to the successful execution of the 405 B dive which scored 69.70 points. While the two competitors shared the gold in the Boys 3m springboard A event, Pereira did not want to share this bronze with the Ukrainian rival.
Jules Bouyer (France), Boys 1m springboard A winner
“It’s very incredible. I’m thrilled. I have a big victory today. I was happy to be in the top 12 at 1 meter. It was difficult to stay in the lead during all five rounds, but it was my last competition in the junior category, so I tried not to make mistakes.”
Moritz Wesemann (Germany), Boys 1m springboard A silver medalist
“I had some problems with the third dive 405 C, but I’m pleased with the last two dives. These are my favorite dives. The most difficult, I think, was Back 2½ Somersault. It’s my last final here. Next year I’ll perform in senior competitions.”
Kawan Figueredo Pereira (Brazil), Boys 1m springboard A bronze medalist
“I am not a springboard diver. That’s why these medals are more valuable for me – gold on 3 meters and bronze on a meter.”
No Match for Sereda
Right before the eyes of pole vault legend Sergey Bubka, the young talented diver Oleksii Sereda became the world junior champion. In the final of the Boys platform B event, all attention was paid to the youngest European champion.
The Ukrainian wonderkid got this title in 2019 after winning individual gold in the platform event at the home championship in Kyiv at the age of 13. He also placed 4th twice at the World Championships in Gwangju, both in individual and synchronized (with Oleh Serbin) 10m platform events. This enabled him to qualify for the 2020 Summer Olympics in individual competitions where he took 6th place.
Sereda was the leader in the preliminary session where Russian Alexander Kalashnikov was 84.3 points behind in second place. Sereda remained an unattainable leader throughout all four rounds of the final, collecting 484.60 points. His best dive landed him 86.40 points for the Armstand Back Double Somersaults 2½ Twists.
FINA World Junior Championship debutant Maxim Gulidov of Russia claimed the silver medal with 427.55 points, over 57 points behind Sereda. Tokyo Olympic Games participant Jaden Eikermann Gregorchuk of Germany, and a local bet Danylo Avanesov competed for the bronze. However, the Ukrainian was 6 points behind the German despite receiving high points for a 6245D dive.
Oleksii Sereda (Ukraine), Boys platform B winner
“I did well in the first two dives in the final, but in the third, I made a mistake and scored 5 points. In general, the world champion title is a good result for me. I received a considerable amount of points, but on the third jump, I could do better by 8, 8.5 points. Today, the competition was high, strong guys, some of whom I have already met at the World Cup and the Olympic Games. For me, this championship has just begun. Tomorrow I will dive the 3m springboard, then the synchronized competition. At the end of these competitions, there will be another championship of Ukraine, after which I will go to the festival of water sports in Abu Dhabi. That’s why I will continue to train and prepare new dives.”
Maxim Gulidov (Russia), Boys platform B silver medalist
“I am glad that I was able to perform in the first two dives very well and get 8 points for each of them. Such dives are not always successful in training. I’m glad I beat Jaden, a participant in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. This, I think, is a special victory for me, because it is my first international competition at this level. I am very impressed by the local atmosphere. Everything is at the highest level.”
Jaden Eikermann Gregorchuk (Germany), Boys platform B bronze medalist
“Of course, I could have done better, but what’s done is done. This is a competition, the strongest and more successful wins. I did not succeed in all the dives in the preliminary round, so I had to gain points in the final.”
Day 6: Italy and Russia Crowd the Podium in Separate Events
Hometown Hero Misses Out on Gold
Oleksii Sereda of Ukraine, a platform diver who already won gold for the said event the previous day, figured in a two-way battle for gold with Matteo Santoro of Italy in the Boys 3m springboard B event. At the end of the final, it was the visitor who ended first with 493.30 points as Sereda was a mere 1.55 points behind. Another Italian bet in Matteo Cafiero finished third to demonstrate the dominance of Italy in the event.
In the morning preliminary session, Santoro and Cafiero actually completed a 1-2 finish with Cafiero being over 30 points ahead of the then third-ranked Tomas Tamayo Meneses of Columbia.
Sereda made the competition interesting in the afternoon final session by opening with a high scoring dive, a 107B that got 74.40 points, to overtake the Italians for the lead. However, Santoro rose to the challenge to come up with two consecutive remarkable dives, a 107B dive of his own that garnered 79.05 points followed by a 5154B dive that scored 76.50 points.
Matteo Santoro (Italy), Boys 3m springboard B winner
“To tell the truth, I was very nervous because it was my first competition at such a high level. Now I feel pleased. The third dive, 5154B, was the most difficult because I had performed it only a few times before, so I was a little scared. But now I’m happy about my first title in the world. Thank you, Kyiv, for all these emotions! Oleksii Sereda is a real legend for us.”
Oleksii Sereda (Ukraine), Boys 3m springboard B silver medalist
“I assumed that I could be in the top three, but I still have to work and work on the springboard. It’s not easy to stand on it and win. However, it seems that I have not deserved it yet, so I will work. And then in the future, I may win. Will I change the platform for a springboard? No. The platform is my main and favorite discipline.”
Matteo Cafiero (Italy), Boys 3m springboard B bronze medalist
“I am pleased with this experience and having the medal. But I could do better, I think. Dive 305B got me excited because I had problems with it before. And, of course, my competitors were powerful. I am also happy to share this podium with my teammate Matteo Santoro and Oleksii Sereda.”
Russians Take Advantage of Little Mistakes by Rivals to Finish in the Podium
German diver Pauline Alexandra Pfeif ruled the morning preliminary session and confidently led the final from the start till the second round. But in the third round, things started to turn sour for her. Her 107B dive turned in a low score allowing Russian Ekaterina Beliaeva to go ahead and eventually win the event.
Beliaeva finished the session with the two highest-scoring dives of the field, a 407C dive that scored 70.40 points, and her grand finale, a 5253B Back 2½ Somersaults 1½ Twists dive that garnered 75.20 points. Her total of 406.65 points was well ahead of Pfeif’s 381.70 points.
The battle for third was equally surprising. Italy’s Maia Biginelli ranked second all the way till the second round until her third-round dive, a 205B dive, only gave her 21.75 points – the afternoon’s lowest score. She would finish the competition in 6th place. It was Russia’s Elizaveta Kanso who benefitted from this as she sneaked in for third place with 370.30 points.
Ekaterina Beliaeva (Russia), Girls platform A winner
“This is the second gold in a row at the championship. Of course, I am thrilled. It is the world championship! It is a pity that top athletes had not come, but we did our best, and everything worked out for us. Yesterday’s award did not relax me because you adjust differently for each start. Firstly, synchro is done, everything is forgotten, and everything is new. In the previous competitions, I dived worse, but I adjusted to the finals. Adrenaline pulled my toes up, and everything worked out. The coaches praised me.”
Pauline Alexandra Pfeif (Germany), Girls platform A silver medalist
“Preliminary was quite good for me, and I hoped for a gold medal, but obviously couldn’t handle the excitement. I could have won gold. The marks in the final were higher than in the morning session. The competitors were strong, but I could beat them! But I am proud of myself.”
Elizaveta Kanso (Russia), Girls platform A bronze medalist
“To be honest, I didn’t expect it because I didn’t dive well in the preliminary competition. But I got ready for the finals, smiled, thinking about good things. I dived for fun. Of course, I am delighted that I won this bronze medal. In 2018, I also won a bronze, here, on a 1-meter springboard. I love this pool very much. I am thrilled that I came here again.”
Day 7: Ukraine Sweeps the Days’ Events
Familiar Faces Back in the Podium
The penultimate day of the FINA World Junior Diving Championships 2021 started with the Boys synchronized platform A/B final. Recently crowned individual platform junior world champion Oleksii Sereda of Ukraine, with his new partner Danylo Avanesov, top-scored till the 2nd round. However, they lost the lead to Russians Maksim Malofeev and Sandro Rogava in the third round. The locals then responded with a strong finish in the final two rounds, highlighted by the session’s highest score of 78.30 points in the 5th round. Sereda and Avanesov collected 321.30 points against Malofeev and Rogava’s 303.18 points.
Third place went to Brazilians Diogo Silva and Kawan Figueredo Pereira who had to battle with the German and Korean divers for the podium finish. For Figueredo Pereira, this bronze medal is his third medal in this championship after the Boys 3m springboard A gold and the Boys 1m springboard A bronze.
Oleksii Sereda (Ukraine), Boys synchronized platform A/B winner
“I knew that if Danya and I do everything right, we will most likely win gold. In general, 7 points is not bad, but I know that I can do it at 9 and 10. The same situation is with four dives. On the whole, not bad, I’m glad. I am happy with this medal, even more than the previous one, because we won it together. We trained a lot, worked hard on it, and this medal didn’t just fall from the sky but had been going to it for a long time, and everything worked out for us.”
Danylo Avanesov, Boys synchronized platform A/B winner
“I am happy that I took first place with Lyosha. But there is always room to grow. Before the dives, I didn’t think about the medal. The main thing was to perform well, not to overwhelm the dives and show a decent amount of points.”
Maksim Malofeev (Russia), Boys synchronized platform A/B silver medalist
“Everything turned out fine, except for one dive. We were a little upset about this, but we will continue to work and improve ourselves. We’ve been a duo for four years already, but this is our first serious start in synchro. We performed a good result, I think. One dive failed.”
Sandro Rogava (Russia), Boys synchronized platform A/B silver medalist
“Everything is great. The pool is excellent. I am happy that I visited Kyiv and won a medal.”
Kawan Figueredo Pereira (Brazil), Boys synchronized platform A/B bronze medalist
“I’m pleased, I’ve made some small mistakes, and I want to adjust them for tomorrow’s platform event. I am a platform diver, my medals on the springboard made me very happy, but I love the platform more. It was enjoyable to compete with Oleksii Sereda. He is a very successful and talented athlete. When you have such a strong opponent, you strive to be better, which is very important in competitions.”
Platform Diver Beats Springboard Specialists
The Girls 3m springboard B event was one of the most spectacular events of the WJDC2021. After the preliminary session, the same three divers who finished on the podium of the Girls 1m springboard B event looked primed to land on the podium again. Kseniia Bailo of Ukraine and Elisa Pizzini of Italy were almost equal after the preliminaries. However, Bailo, a platform diver by specialty, stepped up her game in the final to emerge as the clear favorite to win. She top-scored in almost every round of the final to finish with 390.15 points.
Pizzini would then be outmatched by Johanna Krauss of Germany after the former’s poor showing in the final. Bailo collected her second gold medal and third medal for this championship. Krauss finished with 367.00 points, ahead of Pizzini’s 341.25 points. The young Italian lass was visibly unhappy with the result, coming down the podium in tears.
Kseniia Bailo (Ukraine), Girls 3m springboard B winner
“I’m not even comfortable in front of the girls I competed with, that I became the first. They do not dive in the platform event, but I specialize in it. And now, I won a springboard event in which they specialize in. In general, the girls dived well. I was even worried, especially when competing with them on the meter springboard. Today I was confident. I don’t even know why, on the platform, I was not so sure.”
Johanna Krauss (Germany), Girls 3m springboard B silver medalist
“I’m so happy, I dived better than in Preliminary, but I didn’t expect this result. 305C turned out best for me in the final. Especially for me, it is a rather difficult dive, and I am so happy that I’ve managed with it. Today, for some reason, I was more nervous than on the 1 meter.”
Elisa Pizzini (Italy), Girls 3m springboard B bronze medalist
“I’m upset. I hoped for better. I finished the morning session just half a point behind Bailo, so I hoped to win the final. I hope I’ll have another chance tomorrow.”
Day 8: Fitting Finale for the WJDC 2021
Russia Shows Composure to Overcome Determined Italy
A frustrated Elisa Pizzini of Italy was looking to bounce back strongly from her disappointing finish in the previous day’s Girls 3m springboard B final where she slid to 3rd from a possible golden finish. Teaming up with Rebecca Jade Rachel Curti in the Girls 3m synchronized springboard A/B event, the Italians were in the lead until the 3rd round. However, an unsuccessful reverse 2½ somersaults dive in the third round, again, saw the tandem slide to 3rd, a déjà vu moment for Pizzini.
The team of Uliana Klueva and Elizaveta Kuzina from Russia emerged victorious as experience must have played a factor. Klueva finished second in the same event during the previous World Junior Diving Championships together with her then-partner, Vitalina Koroleva. This time around, with Kuzina, the Russians finished the event with their best dives to slowly make it to the top. Their 283.50 points were simply out of reach from both the Italians and the eventual silver medalists, Kseniia Bailo and Anna Arnautova of Ukraine.
Double gold medalist Jette Muller of Germany failed to replicate her success and dominance in the individual events as she and her partner, Julia Deng, were only vying for 4th place. They would even cede that rank to Nina Janmyr and Emilia Nilsson Garip of Sweden by a mere 2.79 points.
Uliana Klueva (Russia), Girls 3m synchronized springboard A/B winner
“We are delighted that we won the gold medal and ended our junior career on such a high note. We made such a good finish. We are happy. The most difficult thing today was getting ready for the competition. This day was stimulating for me. In general, I liked the atmosphere in Kyiv, the accommodations, food, and the swimming pool. Everything is organized at the highest level.”
Elizaveta Kuzina (Russia), Girls 3m synchronized springboard A/B winner
“Yes, indeed, today, it was challenging, but we coped with the excitement. I am glad that both the season and our junior career ended so successfully for us. This is not our first time here. We took part in the championship in 2018. I was also here at the 2019 European Championships, so everything is familiar.”
Anna Arnautova (Ukraine), Girls 3m synchronized springboard A/B silver medalist
“This is the debut of our tandem, who have never performed at an international or Ukrainian competition. It was straightforward and good for us to dive together. There is a mutual understanding. We want to dive together. We need to complicate the program as much as possible, and we will work. I am glad that I won the silver medal. After all, before the championship, I had treated a knee injury and had not trained for a long time. I am happy that everything ended so well.”
Kseniia Bailo (Ukraine), Girls 3m synchronized springboard A/B silver medalist
“I felt tired due to a large number of stars in this championship. But I tried to do my best today and go for a well-deserved rest after. But Anna managed to rest for a few days. I wanted Anna to win a medal and feel these positive emotions.”
Rebecca Jade Rachele Curti (Italy), Girls 3m synchronized springboard A/B bronze medalist
“We are delighted. Of course, we could have done better, especially for me. But we are still delighted with this medal. We have been diving as a duo since February and this is our first medal together.”
Elisa Pizzini (Italy), Girls 3m synchronized springboard A/B bronze medalist
“This bronze in synchro is more valuable to me than the individual one.”
The Most Emotional Dive
Russian bets Maksim Malofeev and Ivan Karpov jumped the gun at their competitors to emerge as the top two divers in the preliminary session of the Boys platform A event. Earlier in the week, Malofeev already won a silver medal in the Boys synchronized platform A/B event. This time, he was primed to emerge as the victor.
After the opening dive of the final session, it was, however, German diver Tom Laszlo Waldsteiner who took the lead from the Russians. Malofeev immediately responded in the second dive to take back the lead which he did not relinquish for the rest of the evening. His final session performance is highlighted by a third-round score of 90.10 points after successfully executing the 307C Reverse 3½ somersaults. He finished with a total of 529.00 points for a comfortable win.
Meanwhile, Waldsteiner slowly faded away from not just contention for the gold medal, but even a podium finish. His attempt at the same 307C dive executed well by Malofeev was a disaster that left the German just outside the podium.
The 307C dive seemed to be the crucial dive among the competitors that either propelled them to a podium finish or doomed them outside the podium. Another casualty of a failed 307C dive is Karpov who slid to 6th place from 2nd.
On the other hand, multi-medalist Kawan Figueredo Pereira of Brazil was able to perform the said dive satisfactorily to garner him 81.60 points and, ultimately, a spot at the podium where he finished 3rd. It was an uphill battle for Figueredo Pereira as he slowly worked his way to as high as 2nd place after the 307C dive, before cooling off in his fifth and final dive.
Colombian Leonardo Garcia Varela was the one responsible for preventing Figueredo Pereira from bringing home the silver medal. Garcia Varela’s final dive was, not surprisingly, the same 307C dive. As a fitting finale to the championships, the Colombian executed the said dive excellently as judges awarded him 91.80 points, the highest-scoring dive of the day.
So good was the dive that not only did Garcia Varela explode with emotions but also everyone at the pool. It was a spectacular finish to his junior career! The dive lifted him to a silver medal finish.
Maksim Malofeev (Russia), Boys platform A winner
“This is my final stint in junior level. Not everything worked out in the competition. The synchronized dives did not work out. However, I am satisfied with my individual performance on the platform. Of course, there are some drawbacks. We will continue to work.”
Leonardo Garcia Varela (Colombia), Boys platform A silver medalist
“I did a tough job before taking part in this competition, and it is great to see the results of this work. Thanks to my family and coaches for their support and faith in me. I am happy to have won the silver medal for my country. This is an outstanding result for me. Of course, like any other athlete, I could have performed better, but silver is also a great result.”
Kawan Figueredo Pereira (Brazil), Boys platform A bronze medalist
“I am happy to win four medals in this championship. The hardest thing for me was today’s bronze on the platform. In the preliminary competitions, I failed the first two dives. And in the final, I had to work harder and do better than other athletes to win a medal eventually.”
Ukraine emerged at the top of the medal standings of the FINA World Junior Diving Championships 2021. The team was able to collect five golds, three silvers, and one bronze medal for the host nation. This is the best performance in its history after its independence.
Meanwhile, Germany won the same number of gold, silver, and bronze medals, finished second due to a lower number of team points. Ukraine had 360.00 points against their 349.00.
Russia was in third place with four golds, six silvers, and one bronze medal despite having the highest team points with 514.00.
The president of the Ukrainian Diving Federation, Mr. Igor Lysov, presented the team trophies for all three nations.
We would also like to give due respect and appreciation to the Media team who worked hard all 8 days of the FINA World Junior Diving Championships 2021. This squad was in charge of taking photos, writing news and creating publications.
Recap video HERE
So this is how the FINA World Junior Diving Champs 2021 unraveled in Kyiv, Ukraine. Soon, we will premiere an exclusive video on our YoutTube channel, SPORTS4WORLD, with highlights of the WJDC2021, the divers’ performances, and some quotes from the athletes and coaches. Subscribe now and don’t miss it!
Thanks to everyone for patiently reading this long article. We hope you enjoyed it! Sports4world continues to bring fascinating and exclusive information for our subscribers. Stay tuned for upcoming publications.
Edited by Aldo Tong