February 29th, 2024

Canadian diver Wiens earns quota spot for Olympics after fifth-place worlds finish

By The Canadian Press on February 10, 2024.

Canada's goalkeeper Jessica Gaudreault blocks a shot during the women's water polo gold medal match against the United States at the Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile, Saturday, Nov. 4, 2023. Canada's women's water polo team has inched one step closer to a potential Olympic qualification. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP -Matias Delacroix

DOHA, Qatar – Canada’s Rylan Wiens booked himself a ticket to the Paris Olympics on Saturday.

The Saskatoon native finished fifth with 489.20 points in the men’s individual 10-metre platform diving event at the aquatics world championships, earning him the second quota spot. The first quota spot for the Games went to Nathan Zsombor-Murray, who got it at the 2023 worlds.

A podium finish or a score above 480 points allowed athletes to be pre-selected for the Olympics by Diving Canada. It will be the second Olympic appearance for the 22-year-old Wiens, who competed at the Tokyo Games three years ago.

“Honestly, I think this is the first time I’ve ever been speechless after a performance,” Wiens said. “All week, I had high expectations and big goals.

“And other than the fact that I didn’t win a medal, I accomplished everything I came (to Doha) to do.”

A few hours before the final, Wiens came out of the semifinals in fourth place. His first dive in the final got him a score of 86.40. On his next dive, he earned his highest score of the day with 99.90 points.

“First I qualified for the synchronized event, and now I’ve been pre-selected for the individual event “¦ I gave my all and had a great time. I’m exhausted, but this is incredible,” Wiens said.

Yuan Cao (553.20 points) and Hao Yang (564.05 points), both of China, took the two top spots on the podium. Ukraine’s Oleksii Sereda earned bronze with 528.65 points.

In water polo action, Canada’s women inched one step closer to a potential Olympic qualification.

Axelle Crevier led the way as Canada defeated New Zealand 14-12 in the round of 16 at worlds to advance into the quarterfinals. Canada will next face reigning Olympic and worlds silver medallist Spain on Monday for a spot in the semifinals.

The Canadians need to finish among the top two teams that have yet to qualify for this summer’s Paris Olympics in order to book their ticket.

“I think we had a pretty tough match against New Zealand,” Crevier said. “We started off well, but there were lapses on defence and we also lacked finishing on the attack.

“There are a lot of details to fine-tune for the match against Spain, which is a very good team. We want to manage all these little details that we lacked today.”

Of the eight teams left at worlds, only Hungary and Italy remain having not yet qualified for the Games alongside Canada. Italy faces Greece, while Hungary takes on the Netherlands in Monday’s quarterfinals.

Canada ended the preliminary phase of the tournament on Thursday with a 2-1 record after the team’s lone loss came by a 12-8 score at the hands of Italy. As a result, Canada finished second in Group D.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 10, 2024.

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