SOUTHEND Diving’s Oliver Dingley enjoyed a double surprise in the three metre springboard final at the Commonwealth Games tonight.
For not only did Dingley claim a superb shock bronze medal in the final.
But his podium finish was also unexpectedly being watched from the stands in Edinburgh by his parents who he thought had been unable to get tickets.
“I didn’t even know my parents were going to be here so seeing them was a special moment,” said Dingley, who qualified in eighth place from the preliminary round.
“They missed the prelims in the morning and I understand my dad was running riot outside by approaching people and offering to buy their tickets from them.
“But they got them for the final and to win the bronze with them watching is just absolutely amazing.
“It was my sisters’ birthday the day before my final so there’s been plenty to celebrate in my final.
“My brother and my girlfriend, who made the banner for me, were also here and I just can’t believe it to be honest.”
Dingley looked unlikely to challenge for a medal after a poor second dive which scored him just 58.50 points.
But the 21-year-old battled back superbly well to take bronze behind his England team-mate Jack Laugher won silver and champion Ooi Tze Liang.
“I dropped my second dive and was seventh after that but was still able to work my way back up again,” said Dingley.
“Normally when you miss a dive in a field like this it’s very hard to get back up.
“But I kept focused and just concentrated on one of my dives at a time.”
That approach enabled Dingley to win the first major international medal of his career.
And the Rochford based diver also felt qualifying in eighth worked in his favour as it enabled him to dive earlier in the competition and put pressure on the other finalists.
“Missing my last dive in prelims might actually have done me a favour because it meant I could apply pressure on the rest of the field,” said Dingley.
“I think that worked and it feels brilliant to have come third.”