Canada's Abel adds 3rd diving medal

Canadian Jennifer Abel captured her third medal of the Commonwealth Games with a silver in the women's three-metre springboard on the final day of diving competition.

Canadian Jennifer Abel captured her third medal of the Commonwealth Games on Wednesday with a silver in the women's three-metre springboard on the final day of diving competition.

Abel, who also won gold in the three-metre synchronized competition and the one-metre individual, matched fellow Laval, Que., native Alexandre Despatie for the most medals by a Canadian diver at the Delhi Games. Despatie won gold in all three men's springboard events.

"This was my first Commonwealth Games and I didn't expect to win so many medals," said the 19-year-old Abel. "It shows I'm on the right track for the Olympics."

The Canadian diving team finished the meet with eight medals, including five gold. The latter total equalled the output of the swimming squad, whose roster was more than twice as large.

Apart from the combined six medals won by Despatie and Abel, Regina's Reuben Ross got a silver in the men's three-metre springboard and Emilie Heymans of St-Lambert, Que., picked up a bronze in the women's one-metre. Heymans also teamed with Abel for the three-metre synchro gold, while Ross partnered with Despatie for the men's title in that event.

Perennial Commonwealth powerhouse Australia finished with the most diving medals with 15, but only two of those were gold.

Abel's silver was one of just two medals earned by Canada on the penultimate day of competition in Delhi. Cyclist Tara Whitten won gold in the women's road race time trial, bringing the Canadian tally to 75 medals — 26 gold, 17 silver, 32 bronze.

With only a handful of events scheduled for the final day, Canada is assured of finishing fourth overall behind Australia, England and India.

4th dive costs Abel

Abel finished between a pair of Aussies on the three-metre podium. Sharlene Stratton won gold, and Jaele Patrick took bronze as the divers duplicated the top three from the qualifying round.

Abel and Stratton went toe-to-toe in the final rounds until the Canadian over-rotated on her fourth of five dives, hitting the water on an obvious slant. The miscue all but handed the gold to Stratton, who posted a winning score of 376.00 points from the judges. Abel ended with a solid dive to wind up with 338.55 points, and Patrick had 326.15.

"I did a great performance, I couldn't ask for much more," Abel said.  "I made a mistake on the fourth dive, but I was able to turn the page and finish strong." 

Pamela Ware of Otterburn Park, Que., finished seventh.

Heymans finished a disappointing ninth. After coming out of the gate with a fourth-place showing in qualifying, a disastrous final round of dives knocked her down near the bottom of the standings.

"I really don't know, it was just a bad day," said Heymans, a three-time Olympic medallist who has battled injuries this season. "Training was going better than ever."

The Delhi diving program closed with the men's 10-metre platform. England's Tom Daley won gold, followed on the podium by Australia's Matthew Mitcham with his third silver of the Games, and Malaysia's Bryan Lomas with his second bronze.

Winnipeg's Kevin Geyson finished fourth, and Edmonton's Eric Sehn was sixth.

"I dove really well," said Geyson, 26, who earned a personal-best score. "There is one dive I need to fine-tune so the next time I can be on the podium.

"I learned a lot and it was a great experience. Hopefully [the] London [Olympics] will be in my sights."