Sarah Barrow fourth in World Championship diving final

By Nick HopeBBC Olympic sports reporter in Barcelona
World Diving Championships: British diver Sarah Barrow takes fourth spot

Sarah Barrow achieved the best individual diving result by a British woman in World Championships history but narrowly missed out on a medal.

The 24-year-old finished in fourth place on 346.45 points, behind bronze-medal winner Luliia Prokopchuk of Ukraine, who achieved 358.40.

Gold was taken by 14-year-old Yajie Si of China, on 392.15.

Olympic champion Ruolin Chen (388.70) claimed silver, while Barrow's team-mate Tonia Couch finished ninth.

"Yes, I was just outside the medals but I'm not too disappointed because it was my best competition in a long time and a personal best by one point," said Plymouth-based Barrow.

Her result was the best-placed finish for any GB female diver since Liz Ferris won bronze at the 1960 Olympics in Rome.

The previous World Championship best by Britain's women was the fourth place Barrow and Couch achieved in the 10m synchronised event two years ago in Shanghai.

The pair, who last month won silver at the European Championships, came fifth in this year's synchronised competition on Monday.

They had never competed against one another in an individual final at a major event before.

"It's my first time at the World Championships [diving individually] and I didn't have anything to lose. So I sat back and enjoyed it and stayed steady," said Barrow.

"I can't wait to do it again."

Had Couch been able to replicate her semi-final performance of 368.15 points, she would have won bronze in the final.

But the 24-year-old, who trains with Barrow in Plymouth, was left struggling after achieving just 43.2 for her opening-round dive, some 39.4 points off the then-leader, American Victoria Lamp.

"I think I was a little bit too pumped and perhaps finishing second [in the semi-final] put me a little bit on the edge. I'm a little bit gutted but that's diving," reflected Couch.

"I will go home absolutely gutted, especially knowing that [semi-final] score would have got me a bronze medal and it may take me a while to get over that."

The results mean Great Britain have now achieved four of the five top-eight finishes UK Sport require them to attain at the 2013 World Championships.

On Friday Alicia Blagg and Hannah Starling will compete in the women's individual 3m springboard preliminaries.

Olympic bronze medallist Tom Daley begins his individual 10m platform campaign on Saturday.

Despite recent injury and illness problems, he will hope to reach the following day's final.

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