Old school: Commonwealth Games judges back to manual scoring
By DENNIS PASSA
Apr. 11, 2018
GOLD COAST, Australia (AP) — The first gold medal event at the Commonwealth Games diving competition was delayed by a technical glitch that forced pool-deck judges to revert to old-fashioned numbered cards to show their scores.
After England divers Alicia Blagg and Katherine Torrance did their opening dive Wednesday — an inward pike— in the three-meter synchronized competition there was a delay after the electronic scoring system malfunctioned.
As spectators began a slow clap waiting for the scores and for the next divers to appear, the referee on the pool deck asked the 11 judges to show their scores on the back-up numbered cards which are rarely used anymore because of the electronic scoring tabulators they hold in their hands. She then announced the scores one-by-one to the spectators.
The manual numbered cards were used for the remainder of the opening round of seven pairs of divers. Organizers then suspended the competition until the issue with the electronic system was fixed. There was another issue in the fourth round of dives, but the electronic scoring was back for the finish.
After all the technical dramas, the Australian pair of Esther Qin and Georgia Sheehan took the gold medal with 284.10 points, moving up from fourth place with their fifth and last dive.
Blagg and Torrance gave England the silver with 276.90 points and the Malaysian duo of Mun Yee Leong and Nur Dhabitah Sabri took the bronze with 264.90, displacing the New Zealand pair of Elizabeth Cui and Yu Quan Goh from the podium with their final dive.
Sheehan said she and Qin dealt with the scoring issues as best they could.
"Everyone's in the same boat, everyone's up," Sheehan said. "They're the same conditions (for all) so it's really just who can deal with it the best today, and that just happened to be us."
Torrance said she and Blagg had only joined up as a synchro pair two weeks ago.
"We've only trained together for the time we've been here, so we're, like, 'we'll just wing it and just throw the dice and see what happens' and it went pretty well," Torrance said. "So I'm crazy pleased."
Sabri said she and Leong didn't expect a podium finish for Malaysia.
"Actually from the start of this event I didn't think I could get a medal because it's a tough fight from Canada, Australia and England," she said.
Asked about the conditions Wednesday, Sabri said: "It's windy and it's sunny and my face hurts."
Canada's Jennifer Able and Melissa Citrini-Beaulieu were fifth, Micaela Bouter and Nicole Gillis of South Africa sixth and a second Australian pair of Maddison Keeney and Anabelle Smith finished seventh.
Keeney wasn't impressed with the scoring problems.
"I wouldn't know where to start really," Keeney said when asked about the problems. "It was all over the shop for everyone with all the delays and technical stuff going on. I think it was an interesting day for everyone. I don't think anyone could say they dived well. We've come out the other end having a good laugh."
There appeared to be no scoring malfunctions later Wednesday when England's Jack Laugher won the men's 1-meter springboard ahead of Australian James Connor and Scotland's James Heatly.
The dive pool is adjacent to the 10,000-seat main pool stadium that was used for the swimming events which ended on Tuesday night. By Wednesday at noon, workers were already dismantling parts of the temporary structure so it can go back to being a community pool.
But at the much-smaller dive stadium, things were rocking under cloudless skies ahead of the three-meter synchro. Bon Jovi's "Livin' On a Prayer" blared through the loudspeakers as a pool-deck announcer tried to pump up the crowd, and a dance cam routine followed.
The seven sets of divers were introduced to loud applause as they made their way past an athletes' section where fellow divers were soaking up the sun in their swimsuits.
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