Laugher and Wilson ramp up Yorkshire’s medal tally

Chris Mears and Jack Laugher win Gold in the Men's 3m Synchro Final.

Chris Mears and Jack Laugher win Gold in the Men's 3m Synchro Final.

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Two Yorkshire teenagers confirmed their status among the stars of Glasgow 2014 yesterday by completing their momentous haul of medals.

Harrogate diver Jack Laugher claimed his second gold medal of the Commonwealth Games alongside City of Leeds team-mate Chris Mears in the 3m synchro springboard event.

Then, last night, 18-year-old gymnast Nile Wilson, of Leeds, took his tally of medals to four by winning a silver and a second gold of the Games in the space of two hours. Wilson finished second in the parallel bars before returning to Glasgow’s SSE Arena to land the gold medal in the horizontal bar.

It caps a memorable week for both young men and took Yorkshire’s tally of medals at the Commonwealth Games up towards 30.

Laugher’s gold yesterday was his third medal in successive days after his individual title in the 1m springboard on Wednesday, and his silver medal off his favoured 3m board the following day.

That two City of Sheffield divers, local youngster Freddie Woodward, 19, and two-time Olympian Nick Robinson-Baker won bronze behind Laugher and Mears merely highlighted the rich seam of talent currently learning the sport in Yorkshire.

Alicia Blagg and Rebecca Gallantree won 3m synchro gold on Wednesday but alongside City of Leeds colleague Hannah Starling last night, they could not break into the top six in the women’s 1m springboard final.

That trio get the chance to add more medals to the county’s total today in the 3m springboard competition.

In last night’s 10m synchro event, Leeds’s James Denny, 20, took silver alongside Tom Daley.

Laugher has been the star attraction though, and called his hat-trick of medals over three days at Edinburgh’s Royal Commonwealth Pool, ‘a dream’.

“It was amazing,” said Laugher.

“The Commonwealth Games have been an absolute dream for me. I was hoping, if I could get lucky, to come away with three medals.

“To come away with two golds and a silver is absolutely fantastic.

“To do the last one with my best mate and to get that alongside each other is what we’ve been dreaming of all year.”

Australia’s Matthew Mitcham and Grant Nel took silver with 403.14, 30 points shy of the English duo’s massive total.

Robinson-Baker and Woodward claimed bronze with 364.41.

Laugher and Mears’s best dive was an inward three-and-a-half somersault which scored 85.68 – one of three scores in the eighties in their six-dive set.

“That was awesome,” said Reading-born Mears, who moved up to train alongside Laugher and the City of Leeds team after London 2012. “I was absolutely gutted to come fourth in the one-metre. I was so close to that bronze medal it put pressure on (yesterday). So it’s great to come out and deliver today as well as we have.”

Mears, 21 from Reading, recovered from life-saving surgery to remove a ruptured spleen suffered while diving in 2009.

“I learnt a lot from what happened to me,” he added.

“I probably wouldn’t have made London if I hadn’t gone through that. I was a bit of a doss.

“It made me step up and realise that life only happens once and you have to work hard if you want to achieve your dreams.”

Robinson-Baker and Woodward admitted their surprise at joining their team-mates on the podium.

Robinson-Baker said: “It wasn’t our best performance, but it was still steady enough to get a Commonwealth bronze.”

Wilson won gold in a dramatic high bar final which was decided on a tie-break after he was given the same score as team-mate Kristian Thomas.

Wilson was awarded the title due to his higher execution score as he and Thomas both scored 14.966, with Canada’s Kevin Lytwyn winning bronze with 14.866.

“I just get into my happy room. It’s just me and the high bar, me and the apparatus,” Wilson said.

“There is no one watching me and then I just do the routine, that’s how I think about it.”

The 18-year-old added: “I just need to push my start values up. I’ve had a rush from junior to senior so within the next year hopefully I can get up there and start scoring what Max is scoring and push for medals in worlds and Europeans.

“The situation has changed and at the start of the year I wouldn’t have put it in my mind that I might be doing the world championships. I’m really up for it and I’m really looking forward to it.”

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