x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

China on target for perfect 10 in diving competition

Hosts look to improve upon medal haul at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 in the diving competition.

China's Wang Hao, left, and Chen Ruolin celebrate after winning gold in the women's 10m Synchro Platform final yesterday.
China's Wang Hao, left, and Chen Ruolin celebrate after winning gold in the women's 10m Synchro Platform final yesterday.

SHANGHAI // China's pursuit of a first ever sweep of all 10 diving medals at a world championship continued yesterday when they added two more to their growing tally.

Hosting their first world championships at a purpose-built site in Shanghai, China won the women's 3 metres synchronised and men's 10m synchronised on day one and two and followed that up with victory in the women's 10m platform and then the men's springboard yesterday.

China won seven out of eight titles at the Beijing Olympics and another seven from 10 at the 2009 worlds in Rome, yet they could top that by winning every title going despite the retirement of "diving queen" Guo Jingjing.

Li Shixin claimed medal No 3 for his country after recovering from a ragged dive three to clinch first place, while compatriot He Min clawed his way from fourth to second spot, leap-frogging Germany's Pavlo Rozenberg with his very last plunge.

Li's messy entry on the third of his six dives looked to open the door to Rozenberg. But the 23 year old nailed his last three dives to finish with 463.90 points.

Chen Ruolin then won her third successive world 10m platform synchronised title. Chen combined with fellow teenager Wang Hao to clinch gold with an impressive 362.58 points, ahead of Australia's Alexandra Croak and Melissa Wu, while Christin Steuer and Nora Subschinski, of Germany, took bronze.

The 19-year-old Chen, who is also the Olympic champion in the event, had won her two previous world titles with different partners, Jia Tong in Melbourne in 2007 and fellow Beijing winner Wang Xin at Rome in 2009.

"I am quite excited. I am still suffering from a waist injury but it didn't cause much trouble in today's competition," Chen said.

"I will also enter the 10m platform event [tomorrow], so I must stay focused. I'm looking forward to it."

The Chinese pair lead from start to finish, essentially cementing victory after the third round when they scored 81.90 points from a forward three-and-a-half somersault pike.

Diving, synchronised swimming and water polo are all under way at the 16-day, biennial championships, with the swimming events starting on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Russia's Natalia Ishchenko scooped her 12th world championships gold medal as she combined with Svetlana Romashina to win the synchronised swimming duets technical competition yesterday.