Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Diver Despatie purely golden for Canada

Wins 3 gold medals in 3 days at Games

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NEW DELHI -- Alexandre Despatie's ninth career Commonwealth Games gold medal left the Quebec diver thinking of just one thing -- rest and relaxation.

Despatie's third gold in as many days Tuesday came as he combined with Reuben Ross of Pilot Butte, Sask., to win the three-metre synchronized springboard title.

"Right now, all I'm thinking about is that it's over and I'm going to take a week's vacation," Despatie, said after the dramatic victory, which was sealed on the last dive.

"But we have a lot of work left to do before the season resumes. I've had a super season and I want things to continue like this toward (the Olympic Games of) 2012."

Despatie and Ross led most of the competition, but fell to second after the fifth round. However, they finished with near-perfect marks for synchronization on their inward dive, the most difficult on their list, to win gold with 430.35 points. Australia was second, followed by Malaysia.

"We told each other it's never over until it's over," said Despatie. "We knew we could do that last dive very well."

Despatie, a 25-year-old from Laval, defended his three-metre springboard title on Monday and won the one-metre event Sunday.

Despatie now has won a Canadian record nine Commonwealth golds dating back to his first as a 13-year-old at the 1998 Games in Malaysia.

Australia remained atop the standings with 68 golds and 153 medals overall. India was next with 32 gold -- its best at a Commonwealth Games -- and 85 in total, with England in third place with 30 gold medals and 121 overall. Canada remained in fourth with 25 golds and 73 total medals.

In other Canadian action, diver Jennifer Abel of Laval won gold on the one-metre springboard while teammate Emilie Heymans of St-Lambert, Que., was third.

Abel led from the second round on but still won a very close event with 301.75 points. Sharleen Stratton of Australia was second at 299.15 and Heymans followed at 296.10.

"The one-metre is not an event we practice as much as the others so I'm super happy with my performance," said Abel, 19.

"I closely followed my coach's instructions today by making the necessary adjustments after each dive and keeping my concentration level high... I was able to stay calm."

In shooting, Dorothy Ludwig of Langley, B.C., and Calgary's Lynda Hare won bronze in women's team 10-metre air pistol.

In women's pole vault, Carly Dockendorf of Port Moody, B.C., and Kelsie Hendry of Saskatoon finished tied for third with England's Kate Dennison after clearing 4.25 metres.

Canada also won a silver in team rhythmic gymnastics.

 

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 13, 2010 C7

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