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Despatie aims at Olympic diving gold
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Canadian top diver Alexandre Despatie said he had fully recovered from toe injury and was in great shape for the coming Olympics.

Though he has yet to win an Olympic title, Despatie is tipped as one of the strongest rivals for the diving powerhouse China and he aims at a memorable win at the 3 meters springboard and synchronized events.

"I feel great. No problems with my injuries," said the 23-year-old said in Water Cube, where the Olympic diving tournament will be held.

In April, a toe injury forced the Canadian to rest for several weeks, which affected his preparation for the Olympics.

Though the world champion did not feature in Canada's Olympic diving trial in June due to injuries, he has qualified directly for the Beijing Games since the 23-year-old is the greatest diver in Canada.

Back from his pain, Despatie is set to pose serious challenge to Chinese favorites He Chong and Qin Kai in the 3 meters springboard events.

During his 30 minutes' training in the Water Cube Wednesday afternoon, Despatie stepped on the 5 meters platform and focused on crouched jump, armstand and jackknife dive.

"The pool is very nice, much different from the last time when I was here," said Despatie before leaving the stadium.

His last trip to the Water Cube was in February during the FINA diving World Cup, when his unsteady performance only brought him a bronze in the 3 meters springboard synchronized event.

Starting diving at five, Despatie won his first gold at the 1998 Commonwealth Games, making himself the youngest ever gold medalist in the history of the Games.

His Olympic debut in the 2000 Sydney Games ended with a disappointing fourth finish in the 10 meters platform.

After two years' hard training, in the 2003 Barcelona World Championships, the 18-year-old defeated Chinese favorites Tian Liang and Hu Jia to claim victory in the 10 meters platform, which made him Canada's first diving world champion.

Despatie took a silver in the 3 meters springboard at Athens Games and took two silvers in the 2007 Melbourne World Championships after coming back from severe injuries.

(Xinhua News Agency July 31, 2008)

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