Diving: A win that means so much more for Mexican pair German Sanchez and Ivan Garcia

SINGAPORE – Olympic diving medallists German Sanchez and Ivan Garcia have stood on podiums grander than that at the OCBC Aquatic Centre.

But winning the men’s synchronised 10m platform at the Fina Diving Grand Prix Singapore on Saturday (Nov 24) was still significant for Mexico’s 2012 Olympic silver medallists, despite there being only one other pair in the final.

After two years of injury struggles, yesterday was their first time competing together since the 2016 Rio Olympics, where they finished fifth in the same event.

The Singapore leg of the Fina Diving Grand Prix, which concludes on Sunday, is also 26-year-old Sanchez’s first international competition since Rio, where he clinched silver in the individual 10m platform.

Sanchez, who spent most of last year recovering from a right shoulder surgery and also suffered a fracture in his left eye socket during a training accident in March, will compete in the men’s 10m platform final today.

But he feels he has achieved his goals, telling The Sunday Times: “This year was difficult for me. I came (to Singapore) with expectations of regaining my confidence and getting back to competing.

“You should have seen me yesterday (in the preliminary rounds of the individual 10m platform), I was smiling so much and I feel great. We won a medal today, but we’ve actually won so much more than that.”

They scored 378.15 points, ahead of Russia’s Roman Izmailov and Sergey Nazin (348.36).

In other notable finals on Saturday, Russia’s Ilia Molchanov and Vitaliia Koroleva won the mixed synchronised 3m while compatriot Sergey Nazin came out tops in the men’s 3m springboard.

Japan’s Rin Kaneto was the women’s 10m platform champion.

Garcia, who had been competing mostly in the individual events since undergoing knee surgery last year, revealed that he was “a little bit nervous”.

He said: “Doing the dives in competition is always different from training, so there were nerves and adrenalin but now I’m relaxed and happy. We told ourselves to smile and enjoy the competition, and just focus specifically on diving… This result has assured me that I am training well.”

The 25-year-old, back in Singapore for the second time after winning an individual bronze at the inaugural Youth Olympic Games here in 2010, said there is still much to work on, but he believes he is on the right path to qualify for next year’s world championships in South Korea and winning medals at the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020.

His partner Sanchez explained why yesterday’s competition mattered a lot even though there was only one other pair in the final.

He said: “It doesn’t matter if it’s a Grand Prix or the Olympics, you want to dive your best. And I need to give my best attitude here (for a chance to) give my best in Tokyo.”

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