Jack Laugher seals third one-metre springboard gold medal at Commonwealth Games
Houlden had led for a period of the competition but it was Harrogate’s Laugher who emerged victorious, scoring 447.05 overall to secure his third title in the discipline.
The 27-year-old claimed gold in 2014 at Glasgow and on the Gold Coast in 2018 but was able to seal this one in front of a home crowd.
“(I’m feeling) great,” said Laugher. “Yeah, loads of pressure coming into here trying to defend that title that I’ve had for what, eight years now?
“It’s a great, great performance, very steady, a few mistakes here and there but really, really happy with everything, and to do it in front of a home crowd obviously makes it a little more sweeter.”
Laugher had faced a bit of pressure earlier in the event when Houlden finished top of the leaderboard in the first three rounds, but the reigning champion believed he had matters “fairly under control”.
“I mean Jordan, his first two dives were amazing don’t get me wrong, but they are a high degree of difficulty dives,” Laugher added.
“When executed well, which he did, that obviously puts a lot of points on the board, whereas I do my list in a different order, I do my easy ones first and I kind of rank up the difficulty as it goes along.
“I knew I still had it fairly under control in a way, I knew that I could still attain a good score it was just about doing a dive at a time and hopefully not getting too ahead of myself and not reminiscing on misses.
“Today I was pushed, it was a big-scoring competition, it was probably the best scoring podium we’ve ever had at the Commonwealth Games, some great performances by everybody and I’m really happy to share the podium with Jordan.”
Laugher had been desperate to win gold for his late grandma and he delivered at the first opportunity.
Grandma Bernice, his biggest supporter, lived in Sedgley just a few miles from the Sandwell Aquatics Centre.
She passed away a couple of months ago, with Laugher unable to attend her funeral because of the risk of catching Covid ahead of the World Championships – where he won three medals.
But in Birmingham he was desperate to honour her memory and he did so, taking his overall tally of golds to six at the Games.
He added: “It’s special that today I’ve hopefully done her proud. She was my biggest supporter and I think hopefully I have done her, my family, my mum on poolside, my girlfriend’s parents up in the stands, I hope I have done them all proud.
“My grandma is always in my heart, but I think when you get too emotional and bring the emotional side of things into this sport, into a very fine motor skill sport, and a high skill sport, it can lead you astray when you are doing it for something.
“I know she would be proud of me. I’m proud I’ve done it for her.”
Meanwhile in the women’s 10m platform, Laugher’s girlfriend Lois Toulson took silver behind Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix.
Huddersfield’s Toulson gave herself a chance of gold by nailing her final dive but Spendolini-Sirieix – daughter of First Dates star Fred – then produced her best effort to clinch victory by 20 points.
Toulson had been under pressure in the battle for silver, with less than a point separating her and Caeli McKay after four of the five dives, but she ended up 20 points clear of the Canadian – despite being blissfully unaware of how tight it was.
“I’m really happy with my dives and my performance and it’s really nice to be back on that podium,” said Toulson.
“I don’t follow the standings so I didn’t know where I was but my dives were going alright so I knew I was maybe in with a chance.”
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