James Heatly focusing on positives despite Commonwealth disappointment

·3 min read
James Heatly focusing on positives despite Commonwealth disappointment

James Heatly was left accentuating the positives despite his disappointment with a fourth-place finish in the men’s 1m springboard final at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

Heatly was looking to beat his bronze in the same event from 2018 on the Gold Coast, and the final had been billed as a battle between the Scot and England’s Olympic champion Jack Laugher.

But the Edinburgh diver was unable to match the efforts of champion Laugher and his compatriot Jordan Houlden, who took bronze, as well as Australian silver medallist Shixin Li to miss out on a medal.

And the 25-year-old admitted that while he had made mistakes, he would be using them to push on going forward.

“I’m obviously disappointed, fourth is not where you want to finish,” said Heatly, who went into the final as the second-highest qualifier.

“There were a few mistakes in there but also quite a lot of good stuff. I just need to go away and process all the positive stuff over the negative stuff.

“All the mistakes were positive mistakes. If you can turn a failure into a lesson, you turn that into a win so I can use this and come back.

Heatly was playing catch-up after the first two dives but scored just 52.80 on his third effort of a reverse 2 ½ somersault.

It left the Scot adrift of the podium, despite knowing he has the capacity to compete at that level.

“It’s frustrating because I know the scores the guys are posting are scores that I’m capable of,” added Heatly.

“It’s always difficult when you do quite well in the prelims, just managing those nerves, it’s sometimes nice to be the first one to do it and apply the pressure.

Heatly was joined in the final by fellow Scots Danny Mabbott and Ross Beattie, who finished ninth and tenth, respectively.

Mabbott was just a day past his 18th birthday when he got the call for Birmingham, and the experience has inspired him to make sure this is not his only major Games.

“It’s an amazing thing to represent Scotland on such a big stage,” beamed Mabbott. “It’s the biggest thing I’ve ever done, I loved every moment of it.

“It’s inspired me to keep pushing on and keep going.”

For Beattie, the 22-year-old will now return to his Zoology degree at the University of Edinburgh, after putting it on hold for the Games having missed out through injury four years ago.

And the Edinburgh athlete admitted there were plenty of nerves out there at the Sandwell Aquatics Centre.

“There’s a lot of people in there, it gets very loud very quickly,” said Beattie. “You become very aware that you’re the one everyone’s watching.

“I’ve got two events under my belt now so tomorrow that shouldn’t be as much of a shock.

“I’m hoping now it’s not going to affect me as much; I can enjoy the competitions a bit more and not feel as nervous.”

In the women’s 10m platform, Gemma McArthur finished eighth.

There is another chance of a medal for Scotland in the pool today, as Grace Reid defends her 1m springboard title from four years ago, with Clara Kerr also in action.

The 26-year-old is now competing in her fourth Games, having debuted aged 14 in 2010, and is a strong gold medal hope for Team Scotland, but insisted before the Games she just wanted to enjoy her time in Birmingham.

She said: "Had you asked me about my hopes before 2020 I would have said something medal oriented.

“Now I just want to enjoy this summer of competing and usually when I enjoy what I do, the results come anyway.

"I now want to loosen the reigns a little bit to enjoy this experience.

“Sometimes it gets a bit intense, and it becomes really focused that you forget to do all the things that's really enjoyable about it.”

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