Noah Williams suffered an injury during the 10m synchronised divingThe 22-year-old Williams was paired with Olympic champion Matty Lee A severe cramp in their fourth dive looked to have foiled the duo's efforts Williams and Lee overcame the difficulties to capture gold for England on Friday
Into the water and out of a shadow. Matty Lee and his partner Noah Williams won a fine gold medal for England via some considerable pain and difficulty in the 10m synchro diving on Friday night.
As a home pairing, and with Lee the reigning Olympic champion from his previous work with Tom Daley, they were the favourites and indeed led through three of the six rounds.
But the drama and uncertainty came in the fourth, when Williams suffered severe cramp during his dive. That simultaneously allowed the Canadian duo of Rylan Mackenzie Wiens and Nathan Milner Zsombor-Murray to snatch the top spot and also raised questions over whether Williams was fit enough to get it back.
England’s Matty Lee(left) and Noah Williams won gold in the 10m synchronised diving
His limp from the pool and discomfort in then climbing the stairs pointed towards a campaign going south, but an exceptional fifth effort returned the English to the front and they closed well with a forward four-and-a-half somersaults tuck to win with 420.78 points, 15.93 clear of the Canadians.
‘After the fourth dive I pretty much couldn’t walk,’ said Williams. ‘It isn’t serious – I think it was cramp and it might just be adrenaline. I needed a massage between dives.’
For Lee, the win added the Commonwealth crown to the European and Olympic titles he won with Daley. Inevitably, and perhaps unfortunately, those victories were seen predominantly in the context of Daley, but in the latter’s absence Lee drew his share of the spotlight.
Lee(right) won Olympic gold alongside Tom Daley during the 2020 Games in Tokyo
‘This is why I do diving,’ Lee, 24, said. ‘In the Commonwealth Games I have never done exactly what I wanted to do.
‘I missed out in 2014, had a rubbish Games in 2018 but I am so happy me and Noah have just smashed the synchro and got gold.
‘You don’t get a chance to do this very often (in front of a home crowd). That wasn’t luck out there, that was pure skill – but we are lucky to get a gold in front of a home crowd. I’m ecstatic’
The second English pairing of Ben Cutmore and Kyle Kothari were fourth.
Earlier, Jack Laugher won his seventh Commonwealth Games gold medal in the 3m springboard synchro with his partner with Ant Harding. It followed 24 hours after Laugher, the 2016 Olympic champion, won the 1m springboard event.
He said: ‘Obviously two golds is amazing. I think what me and Tony wanted to take from this was that we wanted to get another good performance under our belt. Certainly Tony achieved that. I’ve still got some things to improve on.’