Bri­tain’s Daley beats Chi­nese off big tower

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - THE SECOND PAGE -

BU­DAPEST, Hun­gary — The Chi­nese divers were mar­velous. Tom Daley was even bet­ter.

Ban­ish­ing the mem­ory of his Rio dis­ap­point­ment, the Bri­tish diver cap­tured his first in­di­vid­ual medal at the world cham­pi­onships since 2009 with a thrilling vic­tory over reign­ing Olympic cham­pion Chen Aisen on Satur­day.

Chen, div­ing just ahead of Daley, put the pres­sure on in the fi­nal round with a bril­liant re­verse 2½ som­er­saults with 2½ twists, barely mak­ing a rip­ple as he sliced through the water to re­ceive four per­fect 10s from the judges and noth­ing lower than a 9.5.

But Daley, fac­ing away from the pool, launched him­self off the tower for an equally daz­zling back 3½ som­er­sault pike. He re­leased his legs, spot­ted the water and ma­neu­vered his body into a per­pen­dic­u­lar po­si­tion for scores that matched Chen, in­clud­ing four 10s.

“See­ing Chen do his dive — I saw him in the water and thought, ‘Oh yeah, so that’s how you want to play. I’m here to play too,’” Daley said.

The win­ner led af­ter all six rounds and fin­ished with 590.95 points. Chen was next at 585.25, while his team­mate Yang Jian set­tled for the bronze at 565.15.

Daley was one of the plat­form fa­vorites at the Rio Olympics and led af­ter the pre­lim­i­nar­ies. But he stun­ningly failed to ad­vance to the fi­nal when he fin­ished last out of 18 divers in the semi­fi­nals, with a score that was nearly 170 points worse that the pre­lims.

For good mea­sure, Daley also cap­tured a sil­ver in the mixed 3-me­ter syn­chro­nized on the fi­nal day of div­ing.

“Con­sid­er­ing ev­ery­thing that hap­pened in Rio last year, not mak­ing the fi­nal, to come back now and win a sil­ver and a gold all in one day is just, you know, I can’t quite be­lieve it,” he said.

So, so sorry

In a sce­nario no one thought was pos­si­ble three years ago, Pablo San­doval re­joined the San Fran­cisco Gi­ants on Satur­day. The vet­eran third base­man, who left San Fran­cisco as a free agent on bad terms af­ter the 2014 sea­son, of­fi­cially inked a mi­nor-league deal with his orig­i­nal club.

Many thought San­doval had burned his bridge with the Gi­ants af­ter he lashed out, charg­ing the team had dis­re­spected him dur­ing con­tract ne­go­ti­a­tions af­ter the 2014 sea­son. San­doval inked a five-year, $95 mil­lion con­tract with the Bos­ton Red Sox.

He was re­leased by the Red Sox on Wed­nes­day af­ter noth­ing but in­juries and mea­ger num­bers since the deal, leav­ing the Red Sox on the hook for the re­main­ing $49.5 mil­lion owed. With few options avail­able, San­doval was forced to eat his words and of­fer an apol­ogy, which was re­leased in con­junc­tion with the an­nounce­ment of his sign­ing Satur­day.

“I have al­ways loved and ap­pre­ci­ated the Gi­ants or­ga­ni­za­tion, my Gi­ants team­mates and the fans of San Fran­cisco. I have so many great mem­o­ries and I want to thank the or­ga­ni­za­tion for giv­ing me an­other chance to come back here. When I left the Gi­ants in 2014, my com­ments were emo­tional, in­sen­si­tive and mis­guided and I truly re­gret and apol­o­gize for my ac­tions. I am com­mit­ted to work­ing hard to con­tribut­ing to the suc­cess of the Gi­ants.”

AP/MTI/ZOLTAN MATHE

Thomas Daley of Great Bri­tain shows off his gold medal won in the men’s div­ing 10-me­ter plat­form fi­nal and with his sil­ver medal won in the mixed 3-me­ter syn­chro spring­board fi­nal on Satur­day dur­ing the 17th FINA Swim­ming World Cham­pi­onships in Duna Arena in Bu­dapest, Hun­gary.

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