Jack Laugher’s Commonwealth Games began as he strode into Alexander Stadium as one of England’s flagbearers in the opening ceremony, and then he opened his competition on Thursday with a gold medal. The wins continue to rain down on him. Less than 24 hours later, he collected his second gold of this year’s Games, winning the men’s synchronised 3m springboard title alongside his partner, Anthony Harding.
What marks a third successive gold medal in the event for Laugher, his eighth medal in total, is the first Commonwealth Games medal of any colour for Harding, a 22-year-old competing in his first Games. Laugher and Harding’s partnership was established at the end of last year, but they have already achieved considerable success after winning silver at the world championships this year.
These experiences have been a long time coming for Harding, whose biggest previous successes were two bronze medals at the European Championships in 2019. He talked in depth about the difficulty of waiting for his opportunity to compete at major events with such fierce competition for places in Great Britain’s men’s diving squad.
“This is my second international in two, three years,” he said. “The 3m men’s in Britain is so tough, it’s so hard to get on the big stage. I’ve worked so hard. I’ve had to be patient, I’ve had to wait for it, really. It’s thanks to Jack for seeing me in training and seeing how good I can be and trusting in me, believing in me.”
As one of the most prominent divers continued his Commonwealth Games dominance, another finally won his first medal at the competition. One year on from his iconic Olympic gold alongside Tom Daley in Tokyo, England’s Matty Lee continued his excellent start with his new partner, Noah Williams, winning gold in the synchronised 10m platform. They dominated the field to win with a score of 429.78, 15.93 points ahead of Canada in second place.
The pair have enjoyed an excellent start to their new partnership, winning silver at the World Championships on this event in June. Despite their performance, their day was not without challenges after both divers suffered from cramp, Williams visibly limping after their fourth dive and carrying his discomfort until the end. “I think it was the adrenaline. The crowd was really, really loud which, in diving’s not common. It was really great support, but I think I had too much adrenaline and my cramp was awful,” said Williams, laughing.
Even though they finished with a score of 483.33, a huge 61.56 points clear of silver medalists, Malaysia, Laugher was critical of his performance and he said he slept badly following his first gold medal. In the same breath, though, he heaped praise on his young partner. “To say that I had a couple of hours’ sleep and then go out there and performed one of the hardest dives in the world alongside a great synchro partner was obviously pretty good,” he said.