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China wins men's synchro springboard diving
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Chinese Wang Feng and Qin Kai won the men's 3m springboard synchronized gold medal at the Beijing Olympic Games on Wednesday.

Defending world champion Qin Kai and Wang Feng made it fourth Olympic diving title for China when they twirled to a comprehensive victory in the men's 3m springboard synchronized final on Wednesday.

With the their clean victory, dominant China has swept all of the four gold in synchro diving events at the Beijing Games.

The Chinese duo, winner of the event of 2008 Beijing World Cup and the 2007 World Championships in Melbourne, led all the way in the final and amassed 469.08 points, nearly 50 points over their closest rivals Russian Dmitry Sautin and Yuriy Kunakov.

China wins men's synchro springboard divingLegendary Sautin and his teenager partner finished runner-up at 421.98, beating Ukrainian pair Illya Kvasha and Oleksiy Prygorov at 415.05.

Qin and Wang, 21 and 29 respectively, seized the lead with their first back dive for which they achieved three maximum 10 scores. They continued to expand score gap and secured the gold after their fourth dive, a most difficult forward two-and-a-half somersault in pike position, well ahead of closest rivals with over 20 points.

They burst into laughters and gave each other a big hug after they saw their first ranking from a big screen in the National Aquatic Center, known as the Water Cube.

The second Olympian Wang, fourth of 3m springboard in Athens, presented flowers to his wife and kissed her who cheered for him on the auditorium.

"I'm too glad. I will make hard efforts to attend the next Olympics," said the 29-year-old Wang.

"We performed very well today. We have coorinated for more than 20 months. This gold is so important to my life," said Wang, who has collected up to 99 medals in all kinds of competitions, only short of an Olympic gold.

He believes the solid talents reserve and hard training lead to the great success of the Chinese Dream Team.

The Olympia debitant Qin said they did lots of preparation for the competition, and the final result was worthwhile.

Despite the unarguable victory of the Chinese, Wednesday's competition is full of magic.

Russian Sautin and his 18-year-old partner trailed closely the Chinese in the first four dives, but slumped to fourth after their fifth performance, a difficult inward three-and-a-half somersault in tuck position.

However, they managed to claw some of it back in the final decisive battle and stepped on the podium with the silver.

Furthermore, the bronze medalists, placed last out of the eight pairs after the second dive, pulled ahead since the third one, even surging past the Russian duo at the last but one dive.

After a final reverse three-and-a-half somersault in tuck position, they were delighted to secure a bronze medal.

"The medal is too important for us," said a delighted Kvasha.

"We had full confidence about ourselves when we dropped behind, and believed we could bring back a medal," said the 20-year-old.

It is legendary Sautin's second silver in his five Olympic trips. The 34-year-old has earned a total of seven medals at four previous Olympic Games, including two gold, one silver and four bronze.

"I was considering retirement after the Athens Games, but later I made a promise for competing in Beijing," said Sautin.

The iron man took nearly one year of 2005 to recover from a terrible shoulder injury, and afterwards, stepped again on his favorite springboard.

"Health is always vitally important," he admitted, adding he had strong confidence 10 years ago to beat the Chinese. However, his chronic back and waist injuries hauled some of his confidence to crush customary Chinese rivals at the Beijing Olympics.

A silver medal was also "inspiring", said the veteran, adding Beijing Games might be his last Olympic appearance.

World platform champion Alexandre Despatie of Canada and his 37-year-old partner Arturo Miranda, finished outside the medals in fifth for his third straight Olympics.

They dropped from third place to fifth after the difficult fourth dive, a forward three-and-a-half in pike position, for which they ranked only seventh-highest marks.

Chinese Wang, a good friend of Despatie, gave the latter lots of encouragement after his disappointing show on Wednesday.

"I hope he (Despatie) can adjust himself soon to compete in the individual event," said Wang, who had a same symbol with Despatie on their left arms, describing by them as a "sign of friendship".

The victory of Qin and Wang had reseized China's supremacy in the 3m springboard which the country failed to see in Athens four years ago.

The Chinese Dream Team had bitter memory in the same event at the Athens Olympics, when Peng Bo and Wang Kenan blundered in their final dive and were awarded zero point.

The gold just slipped out of their hands to Greek duo Thomas Bimis and Nikolaos Siranidis after a series unimaginable mistakes of other divers, leaving the Chinese lamenting the last place.

China has won 26 Olympic titles out of 40 in the last 24 years since its diving team manager Zhou Jihong gained the country's first diving gold in women's 10m platform in 1984 Los Angeles Games.

In the previous three synchronized events at the Beijing Games, another three pairs, namely, Guo Jingjing and Wu Minxia, Lin Yue and Huo Liang, Chen Ruolin and Wang Xin, had secured the golds for China.

(Xinhua News Agency August 13, 2008)

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