Emotional Laugher savours his second Euro Championships victory

Harrogate's Jack Laugher won his second gold medal of the European Championships in the 3m springboard (Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire).
Harrogate's Jack Laugher won his second gold medal of the European Championships in the 3m springboard (Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire).
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HARROGATE’S Jack Laugher is coolness personified on the diving board but even he admits European Championship gold in the 3m springboard tugged on the heartstrings.

The 23-year-old already has one gold medal to his name at the competition in Edinburgh but his latest gong was extra special.

Laugher just missed out on continental glory in London, losing to Russia’s Evgenii Kuznetsov.

But the Olympic gold medallist put those memories to bed with a stunning 525.95 at the Royal Commonwealth Pool.

And following that golden success, Laugher claimed standing on top of the podium did get the emotions going.

“It’s the first time in a long time that I’ve been that emotional about winning.

“I wanted that one very, very badly,” he said.

“The reason I’m so emotional is because it was such a good competition between us three at the top.

“The Russian guys never let me get too far away and it was tight right until the very end. It was an extremely emotional competition and I’m just so happy I’ve won.

“There’s still room for improvement which is great but it was a fantastic competition and I just happened to be the best diver and I’m just so blessed and happy with the performance.”

Gold medals at the Olympics, Commonwealth Games and European Championships has given Laugher an air of confidence whenever he steps up to compete and the diver admits he’s feeling good.

“I’ve been in the top three or four in the world for a couple of years now and that really does make you feel extremely good.

“That counts in the eyes of the judges, your competitors and in myself I feel very confident when I go out on that board and I know what I’m doing now.

“I’m focussed and I’m concentrated and I know exactly to do my dives and I think that showed.”

Two golds could become three in Edinburgh as Laugher teams up with Chris Mears for the 3m synchro.

Mears and Laugher became Britain’s first diving champions at the Olympics two years ago and the North Yorkshire diver is looking forward to linking back up with his good friend.

He said: “I’d love to get one more but the Russian boys are amazing at Synchro. It’s going to be an amazing contest.

“It’s one that I’m really excited for. It’s Chris’ first event at the European Championships so I’m hoping it will go well for us.”

Max Litchfield never feared for his career following a serious shoulder injury and two medals at the European Swimming Championship has justified that confidence.

The Pontefract swimmer withdrew from the Commonwealth Games as he fought tooth and nail to make a full recovery.

And the 23-year-old has announced himself back on the international stage in Glasgow, picking up silver in the 400m medley on the final day of competition.

That result, backing up his bronze in the 200m medley at the Tollcross International Swimming Centre, has Litchfield thinking big with two years to go before the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

“There were times when I thought it was taking a while. In early January, I was considering surgery and stuff because it was not getting better over the winter,” Litchfield said. “We went a couple of months without seeing improvements but there was never a point when I thought my career is over.

“Some people said it might be but I am going to push through anything I can to get back to where I want to be.

“I know I have years to come and whatever gets thrown at me, I am just going to push back harder to be the best. People say it’s over and that pushes me on. The more people tell me I can’t do something, the more I will do it.”

Jess Learmonth was forced to concede that she lost to the better woman as the legendary Nicola Spirig pipped her to European gold in the women’s triathlon.

Learmonth – the defending champion – led from the front in the swim and for the majority of the bike ride before her Swiss rival hunted her down on a solo mission.

Spirig, 36, is the Olympic champion from London 2012 who took silver in Rio four years ago – not to mention now a five-time champion of Europe.

And on the run in mild conditions at Strathclyde Country Park it was the Swiss star who showed no signs of age to pull away and force Learmonth to settle for silver.

But the Leeds triathlete was all smiles after the race and admitted she could not have asked for much more.

“I knew I’d struggle out front on my own and Nicola was extremely strong. On the run I tried to hold her but she was too good,” she said.

“Nicola jumped pretty much straight away and luckily I was able to stay with her, then for the last two laps we worked together quite well.

“But then she just abandoned me on the run!”

“I am really happy though, if I had known before the race I would get silver I think I would have taken it.

“There are loads of good athletes here so I am super happy. With my abilities, It will always go one way or the other.”