Welcome surprise for Leeds hopeful Starling

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Leeds duo Becky Gallantree and Hannah Starling scraped through to the semi-final of the women’s three-metre springboard at the Aquatics Centre yesterday afternoon.

Gallantree failed to get past the preliminary round in Beijing four years ago but a score of 299.25 was enough to see her finish 16th and just inside the 18-diver cut.

Starling was fractionally behind her fellow Briton with a total of 298.95 placing her 17th.

The 17-year-old, the youngest diver in the competition, had been 19th heading into her final dive but drew scores of seven for her forwards two-and-a-half somersault with one twist to nudge through.

The City of Leeds duo will, however, have to improve to reach the final with the top 12 set to go through from today’s round.

World champion Wu Minxia qualified in top position with a score of 387.95 ahead of compatriot He Zi, with whom she won the springboard synchro earlier this week, in second.

Starling had feared she might have missed out after her last dive.

The teenager turned to the crowd and smiled as she swam back to poolside and revealed she had done so because she thought it would be her last chance to enjoy the support of 17,500 fans inside the Aquatics Centre.

Gallantree was also pleased to go through after failing to progress beyond the first round at the last Olympics and world championships.

The 27-year-old was always inside the top-18 yesterday and, after reaching the final at the World Cup at the Aquatics Centre in February, has the potential to win through today.