Sage dives into Olympic arena as Chinese strike gold

PUBLISHED: 16:05 10 August 2008 | UPDATED: 21:56 26 October 2009

Pix by Chris Whiteoak/SWpix.com......Commonwealth Games 2006, Melbourne, Australia, Diving, Day 1 Morning.......22/03/06

Picture Copyright >> Simon Wilkinson >> 07811267706

England's Haley Sage (L) and Tandi Indergaard hold up their bronze medals won in the womens 3m springboard synchro final

Pix by Chris Whiteoak/SWpix.com......Commonwealth Games 2006, Melbourne, Australia, Diving, Day 1 Morning.......22/03/06 Picture Copyright >> Simon Wilkinson >> 07811267706 England's Haley Sage (L) and Tandi Indergaard hold up their bronze medals won in the womens 3m springboard synchro final

© Simon Wilkinson 07811267706

HERTS diver Hayley Sage finished outside the medals on her Olympic debut in Beijing. The British 3m synchronised pair of WGC-born Sage and Tandi Gerrard started well in the 2008 Olympic final at the impressive Water Cube. However, they couldn t keep up wi

HERTS diver Hayley Sage finished outside the medals on her Olympic debut in Beijing.

The British 3m synchronised pair of WGC-born Sage and Tandi Gerrard started well in the 2008 Olympic final at the impressive Water Cube.

However, they couldn't keep up with the power of the 2004 Olympic champions Jingjing Guo and Minxia Wu and eventually finished eighth.

Gerrard and 22-year-old former Hertford schoolgirl Sage had a positive start with good scores for both of their required dives, but found themselves in eighth position after the second round of dives.

Guo and Wu didn't open up the field as much as expected after performing their required dives to a lower standard than usual.

The Chinese pair sat comfortably in the lead after the second round, but the battle for silver and bronze saw four teams within just one point of each other.

As the competition entered the third round, the British pair dropped their reverse 2 1/2 somersault tuck and scored no higher than a seven.

Commonwealth bronze medallists Gerrard and Sage, who started diving seriously at the Beaumont Academy in Hatfield under Derek Beaumont's expert tutelage, picked themselves up in the fourth round.

They scored well with their reverse 2 1/2 somersault 2 1/2 twists in free position - the hardest dive in their list - but the gap between the rest of the field was just too much for them.

The Brits finished excellently with their back 2 1/2 somersault tuck to again score well, but finished in eighth position overall with a total score of 278.25.

With the hardest list of dives in the competition, the Chinese pair put the gold out of reach in the third round and the race for silver saw Russia perform superbly throughout the competition to look safe for the second spot in the fourth round.

The bronze medal fight was left to Germany and the USA and it went down to the final dive.

They were level going into the last round and with an excellent reverse 2 1/2 somersaults tuck from the German team of Ditte Kotzian and Heike Fischer the pressure was on the American team.

Kelci Bryant and Ariel Rittenhouse took to the boards as the final pair in the event and lost some marks with their back 2 1/2 somersaults pike to finish just four points behind the Germans and lose the bronze medal.

The Chinese pair scored a huge 343.50 - almost 10 points more than their last Olympic gold medal performance.

Russia's Julia Pakhalina and Anastasia Pazdnyakova scored 323.61 to take silver and Germany won the bronze with 318.90.

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