leeds diving star Jack Laugher hailed a happy conclusion following a “terrible time” after succeeding where Alistair Brownlee, Adam Peaty and Max Whitlock had failed at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Defending champion Laugher clinched the first of three possible golds on the Gold Coast with a confident victory in the men’s 1m springboard.
The success formed part of a stellar day for Laugher’s City Of Leeds Diving Club, whose Kath Torrance scooped a silver in the women’s 3m springboard synchro event alongside Alicia Blagg.
Blagg is studying at the University of Miami, but was based in Leeds when taking 3m synchro gold at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealths in which Laugher secured gold in both the men’s 1m springboard and 3m springboard synchro alongside Chris Mears, who is also back for more in 2018.
Four years later and now an Olympic gold and silver medallist, Laugher travelled to Australia looking to defend his titles, while also seeking gold in the 3m event but aware of the surprises so far thrown up at this year’s Games.
Leeds triathlete Brownlee could not defend his title, while swimmer Peaty and gymnast Whitlock both lost unbeaten records in speciality events.
It means so much to win for England. It was difficult to come out here as defending champion but I trusted myself and felt strong and confident.Jack Laugher
Laugher was also competing after a series of injuries but led from the first dive to last to become a triple Commonwealth champion.
“I’ve been struggling with injuries all year and it’s been a terrible time,” admitted Laugher. “I’ve only had a couple of weeks training leading into and defending a title is tough, so I’m really proud. It means so much to win for England. It was difficult to come out here as defending champion but I trusted myself and felt strong and confident.”
City of Sheffield brothers Ross Haslam and Jack Haslam also competed in the 1m final, finishing seventh and 10th respectively. Leeds teenager Lois Toulson finished fifth alongside Robyn Birch in the women’s synchro 10m platform final.