World Juniors: Third Medal for Sonya Palkhivala
Sonya Palkhivala (Pointe-Claire Diving Club) shone brilliantly once again on Thursday at the FINA World Junior Diving Championships, being held at the Montréal Olympic Park Sports Centre. In her third and final event of the competition, her solid performance on the 1-metre springboard earned her a silver medal.
Having won gold in both the 3-metre springboard and 3-metre synchronized events earlier in the week, she wished to cap off the tournament on a high note, and she did not disappoint. Her total of 392.85 points placed her on the podium for the third time in only three days in Montréal.
“Honestly, I’ve dreamt about this a lot. There’s a drawer in my bedroom where I keep all my medals. It’s starting to get a bit overloaded, so I may need a bigger one!” she laughed, following the medal ceremony.
“For me, the goal wasn’t necessarily to get onto the podium every time. What I wanted to see was how far my fitness level and training could take me. I’m really happy with my results. They definitely give me a lot of confidence for the future.”
The task was not without its challenges for the Montréaler who, by her own admission, had to cope with fatigue during the day on Thursday. After placing fifth in the qualification rounds, she made a strong comeback just a few hours later to claim the title of runner-up junior world champion.
“After the two other events, it became harder for me to control my emotions,” she said. “This morning, I could really feel the fatigue, and it was more difficult, but I changed my mindset and decided to just do my best and have fun diving!”
The only person to outperform the Canadian today was Lotti Hubert of Germany, who won gold with 400.10 points. Tilly Brown of Great Britain rounded out the podium with 388.10. Palkhivala nearly pulled off a three-gold-medal sweep, but a tough final dive stymied her.
“After that, I knew I wouldn’t win, but I was okay with that. I’ve had trouble executing that dive all season, but we decided to go with it anyway. It was a risk, but I feel great because I did my best,” said Palkhivala, who will be competing at the senior level in early 2023.
In the same final, her fellow Canadian Katelyn Fung (Forest City) was unable to hold onto the lead she had built in the morning’s qualifiers, where she finished first with 374.70 points. She concluded the event in fifth place, with a score of 366.00.
Positive experience for Noah Bernard
There was also plenty of action on the men’s side on Thursday. In the Group A 3-metre springboard event, Noah Bernard (Toronto Diving Academy) earned Canada’s best result, with sixth place.
“I was pretty nervous and stressed,” he admitted after his performance, which earned him 503.60 points. “I knew I could execute my dives well, just like all the other competitors, but I focused on my own performance, and I’m really happy with the result!”
In his second event of the week, the Ontarian finished less than eight points behind Brazil’s Rafael Silva Max De Almeida, who won bronze with 511.50. Matteo Santoro of Italy won the event with 552.40 points, ahead of Germany’s Jonathan Gisbert Schauer, who won silver with 531.55.
“It was easier today (Thursday). I was more relaxed and I felt like I belonged here,” noted Bernard, who had kicked off his first international competition with an eighth-place finish in the Group A 1-metre springboard event two days earlier.
“It’s pretty crazy! I wanted to do my best and see how I could perform at the international level, and it feels great to have earned good results. I’d like to do better next time, but overall, I’m very happy!” he concluded.
The only other Canadian in action on Thursday was Quebec’s Christopher Booler (Pointe-Claire Diving Club), who placed 20th in the qualifiers in the same event, and therefore was not among the top twelve who advanced to the finals.
The FINA World Junior Diving Championships will continue on Friday with two Group B events: the women’s 1-metre springboard and the men’s platform. The men’s synchronized 3-metre event will conclude the day.