Mears advances to springboard final

07 August 2012 / 13:10

Britain's Chris Mears beat the odds with the performance of his career to qualify for the men's three-metre springboard final with his international best score.

Mears, ranked 48th in the world this year, was not even expected to progress past Monday night's preliminary round but will now dive for an Olympic medal.

The 19-year-old performed a near-perfect forward four-and-a-half somersault, as he posted 461.00 to place ninth.

The result continued Mears' impressive Olympics three years after he was given just a five per cent chance of survival after collapsing during a junior competition in Australia.

The Reading diver had his spleen removed after it was belatedly discovered he ruptured it performing a dive during the Youth Olympic Festival in January 2009.

He lost five pints of blood and was eventually diagnosed with the Epstein Barr virus which left him recovering in an Australian hospital for a month.

His parents were in tears after he finished fifth alongside Nick Robinson-Baker in the springboard synchro last week and they were again left overjoyed on Tuesday morning.

They were pictured bouncing up and down in an embrace on the Aquatics Centre big screen when Mears drew eights for his forward four-and-a-half somersault - his hardest and final dive - to secure his unlikely final berth. His score was 25 points more than his previous international best set on Monday night of 436.05.

"That was the best performance of my life in front of a home crowd just when it mattered. Now I can say I'm an Olympic finalist," Mears said. "I can't quite believe it to be honest.

"I've come from a long way back in 2009. I've had a hard time. To be stood up there representing my country and to do a performance like that is absolutely amazing. I had no expectations. I was happy to come 18th so it turns out I came ninth."