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Golden glory for Dan Goodfellow at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games

Dan Goodfellow won a gold medal at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games on the 3m springboard. Picture: Team England (58486381)
Dan Goodfellow won a gold medal at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games on the 3m springboard. Picture: Team England (58486381)

By Andy Baber

Dan Goodfellow treasured his first individual Commonwealth Games gold medal after dethroning defending champion Jack Laugher to lead an all-English podium in Birmingham.

Not since Glasgow 2014 had Laugher lost a Commonwealth Games final, having already retained his 1m springboard and synchronised 3m springboard titles in Birmingham.

But former Cambridge Dive Team member Goodfellow took advantage of a poor fifth dive from his former synchro partner to clinch his first major solo title at Sandwell Aquatics Centre.

“It’s amazing. I can’t remember the last time there was an England 1-2-3 in diving at the Commonwealth Games,” said the 25-year-old, who went solo at the start of the year.

“I branched away from the synchro to the individual, so I’m taking full responsibility for my own diving. Last time at the Commonwealth Games, I won gold in the 10m synchro so it’s a completely different event and completely different board. I’ve had a bit of a rough year so to come and perform well under pressure in front of a home crowd, I couldn’t ask for anymore.”

Goodfellow, who is from Meldreth and went to Melbourn Village College, climbed the top step with 484.45 points, ahead of teammates Jordan Houlden (465.15) and Laugher (462.30), and said the victory was a statement to his doubters.

“I was a synchro diver for a long time and won plenty of medals doing that, but it does feel extra special when you win it by yourself. It proves where I’m at in my diving at the minute,” he said.

“A few people doubted me so to go out and do this is a bit of a statement.”

Laugher had almost missed out on the final completely after a nervous off-par performance in the morning’s preliminaries, only qualifying for the medal showdown in 11th out of 12 qualifiers.

But he looked in good shape to retain his title after taking the lead at the midway point with his third dive, only to leave the door open for Goodfellow and Houlden with his penultimate effort.

And Goodfellow needed no second invitation, producing a brilliant final dive - a back 3.5 somersaults in the tuck position - for a score of 86.40 to be crowned champion.

“I missed out on individual selection last year because I missed that dive under pressure. But I’ve kept the same list order and there’s not much bigger pressure than doing it for a gold medal in front of a home crowd. It makes me feel better I’ve done that now,” he said.

“We are all Yorkshire-based lads, Jack and I are from Leeds and Jordan from Sheffield, and we’ve been synchro partners. Both our coaches, Tom, and Adam are best friends, so it’s a good feeling up there. English diving is looking strong now.”

Goodfellow previously won 10m platform gold on the Gold Coast in 2018 with Tom Daley, as well as bronze at the Rio 2016 Olympics, but said his solo success might be his sweetest yet.

“In a sport like diving, it can be over in a second – one small mistake can drop you out the medals. But to come here and win gold, I wouldn’t trade anything,” he added.

“The standard of the competition was high, especially when you have athletes like Jack - one of the best springboard divers of all time - in the competition. We are great training partners and we both push ourselves in training.

“That’s what’s made Yorkshire a big hub for springboard diving, we must be doing something right with all three of us in the podium. We all get on so well, to have a 1-2-3 podium is amazing.”

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