DUBAI // Three gold medal winners from the 2012 London Olympics and five reigning world champions will be in action at the Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Sports Complex starting Thursday, battling for the top honours in the second round of the Fina Diving World Series.
Chen Ruolin, the winner of both the 10m platform and 10m platform synchronised at the London and Beijing Games, leads a field that also includes Qin Kai, the men's 3m springboard synchronised gold medal winner from the 2012 Games and He Zi, the women's 3m springboard synchronised gold medallist.
Chen, He and Qin also won gold medals in the same events at the 2011 World Aquatics Championships in Shanghai. Qui Bo, who won the 10m platform and 10m platform synchronised double in Shanghai, will also be in Dubai along with He Chong, another other gold medal winner from that world championships in the men's 3m springboard.
"To have so many world champions and Olympic gold medal winners means this event is going to be at an extraordinary level," said Dr Ahmad Al Sharif, the secretary general of the Dubai Sports Council and the chairman of the tournament's organising committee.
"We have 54 divers from 13 countries taking part here and that again shows the significance of the event. So we are very proud to have this event here and we are also very proud of the partnership between Fina and the Dubai Sports Council and UAE Swimming Federation."
The Dubai leg of the six-stop Fina Diving World Series could have seen another Olympic champion in action, but Ilya Zakharov, the winner of the men's 3m springboard gold in London, injured his shoulder in the opening leg of the series in Beijing last week.
"I like it here so much, but unfortunately I cannot compete here this time because I injured my shoulder in Beijing," the Russian said. "I was really looking forward to Dubai, but sadly I will have to wait for another time because my shoulder needs one week to recover.
"But I will be staying here to watch the competition and to support my team. Hopefully I will be fit for the next round in Edinburgh."
Chen, who won her two events comfortably in Beijing last week, is confident of a repeat here in Dubai, at a venues she described as the best in the world.
"We had very good preparations coming here and that is very important," the 20 year old said.
"Good preparations mean I don't have to worry at the competitions; I just try to implement what we have worked on in training."
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