Synchro divers find it tough going in Edinburgh

NATHAN BURDON
Last updated 05:27 02/08/2014
Liam Stone, Li Feng Yang
LAWRENCE SMITH/Fairfax NZ

TOUGH GOING: Kiwis Liam Stone and Li Feng Yang compete in the men's synchronised diving 3m springboard final in Edinburgh.

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New Zealand diver Liam Stone will barely have time to unpack his bags from the Commonwealth Games before leaving to chase a medal at the junior world championships in Russia.

Stone, 17, and Li Feng Yang completed an international personal best but finished last in a six-strong field in the men's synchronised 3m springboard at Edinburgh's Royal Commonwealth Pool to bring Stone's Games debut to an end.

The Auckland high school student was seventh in the 1m springboard and 14th in the 3m springboard, while Feng Yang will compete in the 10m platform tonight (10.38pm NZ time), with the final at 6.30am Sunday (NZ time).

''This has been a great experience and I'm hoping to have a really good junior worlds when I head to Russia in a months' time. I'm hoping to do a personal best there and maybe get a medal,'' Stone, who has represented New Zealand at two previous junior world championships with a best finish inside the top 20, said.

The New Zealand pairing was always going to struggle in the synchronised event won by England's Jack Laugher and Chris Mears.

Living in seperate cities - Auckland and Wellington - made it hard for the two to getting any consistent training time together.

''We focus on quality, not quantity,'' Feng Yang said.

The New Zealanders were ranked fifth equal after the first of their six dives and appeared to be in a battle with the Malaysian pairing.

They lifted to fifth after their penultimate dive with the fourth best dive of the round, but slipped back into last place after the final round.

Australians Matthew Mitcham and Grant Nel claimed silver, with the English number two team of Nick Baker-Robinson and Freddie Woodward winning bronze.

Stone and Feng Yang are the first male New Zealand divers to compete at a Commonwealth Games since 1998, while the last medal to come from the sport was Nicky Reardon's bronze in Auckland in 1990.

Stone hopes having a New Zealand involvement in Glasgow, and the exposure that comes with that, will help to draw people to the sport.

''It's a great sport, like nothing else. There are a lot of twists and turn, it's great to get into,'' he said.

Feng Yang, who was 12th in the 3m springboard, hopes to challenge for a medal on the final day of the diving programme.

''If I have a very good day I can get close,'' he said.

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