Abel, Citrini-Beaulieu lead Canada’s Day 1 podium charge at diving World Cup

Canadian athletes won a pair of medals and booked an additional spot to the Tokyo Olympics to open a diving World Cup event on Saturday.

Jennifer Abel and Melissa Citrini-Beaulieu won silver in the women’s synchro, while Vincent Riendeau and Nathan Zsombor-Murray earned an extra ticket to Tokyo for Canada with bronze in men’s 10-metre synchro.

Abel and Citrini-Beaulieu have been mainstays on the diving scene since partnering after the Rio 2016 Olympics. Having already booked their Olympic ticket, Abel expressed relief after scoring 289.90 points to finish second behind China’s Yani Chang and Yiwen Chen (317.16).

“We haven’t participated in this kind of competition for more than a year and a half,” said Abel, a native of Laval, Que., I have to say, I was nervous but in the end the result was quite good.”

Chiara Pellacani and Elena Bertocchi rounded out the podium with 283.77 points. Besides medalling, the Italian duet also earned spots in Tokyo along with the four other top six finishers: Germany, United States and Great Britain.

While Britain’s Thomas Daley and Matthew Lee walloped to gold in men’s 10-metre with an astounding 453.60 points, the pair didn’t need the performance to qualify for the Olympics.

It was a different story for Riendeau and Nathan Zsombor-Murray, and the natives of Point-Clarie, Que., did not disappoint. Their total score of 393.54 put them behind Mexico’s Randal Willars and Ivan Garcia (289.98) to round out the podium.

“I’m relieved we could get [Canada] a spot for the Olympics,” said Riendeau. It was a little surprising we were able to get on the podium but this experience gave us confidence”.

Zsombor-Murray was equally relieved. “The Olympics have been my dream; I’m so extremely happy.”

With plenty of Olympic spots still up for grabs, CBC Sports will be living streaming the event from Tokyo. The six-day competition continues Sunday with women’s 10m syncrho at 2:45 a.m. ET, followed by men’s 3m synchro at 4:45 a.m.





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