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Aussies battle nerves to win synchro gold

Written by: Staff
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MELBOURNE, Mar 22 (Reuters) Australians Bree Cole and Sharleen Stratton nailed a ''nerve-wracking'' final plunge to win the first diving gold of the Commonwealth Games today.

The pair, who train by diving into blocks of foam, led after the fourth round in the women's three metres synchronised springboard and executed a technically tricky dive to clinch gold.

''I was shaking on that last dive,'' local girl Cole told reporters. ''It's not exactly a hit-and-miss dive but it's not easy.

There was a lot of fear involved.'' The Australians posted a winning total of 296.07 points to push out Canada's Melanie Rinaldi and Rebecca Barras, who had to settle for silver on 273.72 points after just two months as a team.

Stratton also admitted to an attack of nerves before their final dive.

''It was nerve-wracking,'' said the 18-year-old. ''But it's still more fun doing synchro. We're close friends. If we were enemies we wouldn't want to do so well for each other.'' England's Tandi Indergaard, who represented South Africa at the 1998 Commonwealth Games, and Hayley Sage took bronze with 270.63 points.

Australia's Olympic platform champion Chantelle Newbury missed out on a medal with replacement partner Kathryn Blackshaw.

Blackshaw was a late call-up but made several errors resulting in huge splashes that cost vital execution points.

The women's 10m synchro platform and men's one metre springboard finals take place later on Wednesday.

REUTERS PM PM0909

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