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Saturday, 27 July, 2002, 21:13 GMT 22:13 UK

Hosts enjoy final flourish

By Charlie Henderson
BBC Sport Online in Manchester

In a dramatic finale to the diving at the Commonwealth Games, England have won gold and silver in the men's 10-metre highboard final.

Peter Waterfield and Leon Taylor maintained their form as others buckled under the pressure during diving's final event at the Games.

And the man who lost most was Alexandre Despatie.

The stage seemed set for the Canadian to claim a place in the record books by becoming the first man to win all three Commonwealth golds.

However, after a disastrous fourth round dive which saw him drop from first to fifth, Despatie had to be content with bronze.

And despite missing out on seeing history made, the capacity crowd at Manchester's Aquatics Centre were delighted with the result.

Waterfield and Taylor milked the moment, taking a lap of honour before the crowd again raised the roof for the medal ceremony.

And the winner was "overwhelmed" having climbed from third to first in the sixth and final round.

"I've never won a competition this big before, the crowd has been absolutely brilliant," he said.

"I was just trying to hit all my dives. Thankfully I did, and after that last round dive they couldn't catch me."

Waterfield built throughout the final, which he started in fifth place, finishing with dives for which he was awarded 90.09 and 92.82.

His nearest challenger was team-mate Taylor and silver was the perfect tonic as he continues to build after having two shoulder operations this year.

"I wouldn't want to be beaten by anyone else," he said, before adding with a smile: "I'm going to have to give him a good kicking.

"I didn't miss anything this evening and after the tough year I've had I'm delighted with that."

"It just didn't work for me"
Alexandre Despatie

The pair held off a host of the world's top names, including Despatie and the Australian's Robert Newbery and Mathew Helm.

Despatie held the initiative coming into the final and seemed certain to defend his title and make history in the process.

But the wheels came off his challenge in specatacular fashion in the fourth round when he over-rotated, finishing with a meagre 51.48 points

However, the 17-year-old showed his pedigree by reeling off two of the best dives of the night to haul himself back into a medal position.

"I was not expecting gold, I was not coming for gold. I knew the competition would be very tough, and it was," he said.

"It was a great event. After my fourth dive I didn't even think I'd even get a medal at all, so I ought to be pleased with that.

"The fourth is my favourite dive, but it just didn't work for me."

Newbery also paid the price for weak dives at critical moments.

He was the beneficiary of Despatie's fall down the standings but was unable to hold on after strong dives in the third and fourth rounds.

His fifth and six round dives were below par and at the death he fell from first to fourth.

And it was Waterfield who was on hand to make the most of their misfortune, holding off Taylor for a memorable gold.


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