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Teenager Broben claims surprise silver
By Liam FitzGibbon
07:15 AEST Fri Aug 10 2012

At an Olympics where many Australians have crumbled under the pressure, the youngest member of the team showed how it was done.

Gold Coast schoolgirl Brittany Broben, just 16, displayed nerves of steel to claim a surprise silver medal in Thursday night's women's 10m platform diving final in London.

With brilliant Chinese diver Chen Ruolin having effectively stitched up back-to-back gold medals, Broben needed a big score on her final dive to emerge from a log-jam of minor medal contenders.

And despite admitting she was so nervous she almost fell off the platform, Broben composed herself to pull out a cracking final dive and claim Australia's first diving medal in London.

"It feels like a dream but I never want to wake up from it," Broben said.

She earned 366.50 points to finish behind Ruolin (422.30), while Malaysian Pandelela Rinong Pamg (359.20) was third.

Australian Melissa Wu missed out on a medal by just 1.1 points, finishing fourth with 358.10.

Having qualified third for the final, Broben was on course for a medal until she dropped valuable points in her penultimate dive to put her at risk of missing out.

However a score of 81.60 off her final dive, a back two-and-a-half somersault with one-and-a-half twists, guaranteed her a medal.

Broben couldn't hide her excitement as she screamed with delight to her coach, with her mother, father and 18-year-old sister also sitting in stands.

She was cheered on by a vocal contingent of Australian athletes and later described the situation as "scary".

"My coach was like `whatever happens, happens, just go in and do it, have fun'," Broben said of the final dive.

"But I knew that it had to be pretty good to get a medal because there was like six points between all of us.

"I just wanted to do it, I really wanted to do it.

"I did almost fall off the platform because my legs were so shaky but I did it.

"I couldn't believe it. I saw my coach's face and I dreamt about that moment, seeing his face after my dive, and it just happened and I just can't believe it."

A former gymnast, Broben got into diving aged 11 after 2004 Olympic gold medallist Chantelle Newbery encouraged her to trial in a talent identification program.

She signalled her potential by winning her first senior event at the USA Diving Grand Prix in Fort Lauderdale in May last year, beating Ruolin in the process, before being hailed by Mitcham as Australian diving's next big thing.

Her performance in London indicates a bright future ahead.

But her immediate focus will be on competing at this year's junior world championships, and somehow finding the time to finish year 11 at Marymount College on the Gold Coast.

Wu said she'd hoped to dive better but was thrilled for her good friend and training partner Broben.

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