ROM (AP) – Tina Punzel grabbed Lou Massenberg by the shoulders, shook her and happily fell into her dubbing partner’s arms. After two bad days, German water jumpers took their first medal at the European Championships in Rome – and then straight gold.
“It was a huge relief,” said Massenberg when he saw a “1” on the scoreboard at Foro Italico. “It’s really great to be on top again after 2018. It can’t get better than this.” Nevertheless, he and Punzel became European champions in mixed synchronized jumping from the three-meter board.
Soon after the competition between the 21-year-old Berliner and the six-year-old Dresdener, Christina Wasson won the bronze medal in high diving. “Hopefully the knot is torn now,” she said. With 314.10 points, the 23-year-old was beaten only by British winners Andrea Spendolini Sirieux (333.60) and Ukrainian Sofiza Liskun (329.80). The second German starter, Pauline Fife, took fourth place.
Massenberg and Punzel had not made any major mistakes before. With 294.69 points, they overtook the British pair of Grace Reid and James Heatley (290.76) and World Cup runners-up Chiara Pelacani and Matteo Santoro (283.56) from Italy in second and third places.
“We wanted to fight back and we’ve managed to do it that way, it’s really cool,” Punzel said. Prior to this, the expected medals were not awarded for German jumpers in the two-day competition. “The pressure is increasing day by day, you can’t deny it,” Punzel said. “I felt a little pressure, but I knew what we were capable of.”
National coach Lutz Bushko has also been relieved. The 64-year-old reported from a team meeting earlier in the evening and clearly worded. “We have a relatively open atmosphere in the team – with some spark,” he said with a smile.
Their top jumper Punzel, who has a special leadership role in the team after the end of the career of record European champion Patrick Hausing, has his next chance for a medal the next day. In synchronized jumping from a three-meter board, he and Lena Henschel are among the favorites. Both won bronze medals at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, beating China and Canada.
© dpa-infocom, dpa:220817-99-419085/7
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