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Diving veteran Wang fulfills dream at Beijing Olympic Games
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An Olympic gold has always been Chinese diver Wang Feng's dream. Now, at the Beijing Olympic Games, the veteran finally made it true.

On the fourth competition day of the diving event at the Beijing Games, Wang, 29, claimed the fourth diving gold, also the last synchronized gold for the host nation with his partner Qin Kai, as they dominated the men's 3m springboard synchronized final here on Wednesday.

Their clean victory gave the Chinese diving "dream team" a sweep of all four golds in the synchronized events at the ongoing Games.

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

The legendary Sautin and his teenage partner finished runners-up at 421.98, beating Ukrainian pair Illya Kvasha and Oleksiy Prygorov at 415.05.

"I am happy with the gold," said a smiling Wang. "It is my first Olympic medal."

"We performed very well today. We have coordinated for more than 20 months. This gold is so important in my life," said Wang, who had collected 99 medals from all kinds of competitions in his career, but still without an Olympic gold.

The gold is also quite important for the Chinese divers, as they lost it four years ago in Athens.

The Chinese team had a bitter memory in the event at the Athens Games, where Peng Bo and Wang Kenan blundered in their final dive and were awarded zero point.

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

"Four years ago in Athens, Peng Bo and Wang Kenan almost won the medal, but they failed," said the 29-year-old Olympic champion. "So I always told myself that the same mistake should not be repeated again."

Wang and Qin seized the lead with their first back dive for which they achieved three maximum 10 scores. They continued to expand the gap and secured the gold after their fourth dive, a most difficult forward two-and-a-half somersault in pike position, well ahead of their closest rivals by 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 Aquatics Center, also known as the Water Cube.

The second-time Olympian Wang, fourth of 3m springboard in Athens, presented a flower bouquet to his wife, who cheered him on from the stand, and kissed her.

"I'm too glad. I will make hard efforts to attend the next Olympics," said Wang, who has no intention to retire and is determined to compete again at the 2012 London Games.

Among the 10-member Chinese diving team, only three participated in the 2004 Athens Olympics. Apart from Wang, who is now the oldest diver in the team, the two others are two-time Olympic champion pair Guo Jingjing and Wu Mingxia.

"I learned a lot of things from Wang," said the 22-year-old Qin. "He's always very calm."

Qin still remembered that in the 2007 Melbourne Worlds, the lights in the venue suddenly went off with a power failure, causing a great disturbance to him. But Wang remained quite calm and led the pair to win the 3m synchro gold.

Starting his diving career at the age of 6, Wang made his Olympic debut in Athens 2004, but only finished fourth in men's 3m springboard.

"I was too eager to win the gold at that time," recalled Wang. "I hoped that I could win a gold as my teammates did, but I failed at last."

After the bitter setback in Athens, Wang began to concentrate on synchronized diving. Soon he found he was really good at it. Wang claimed the gold in the event in the 2005 Montreal Worlds and 2007 Melbourne Worlds. He is also the winner of the 2008 "Good Luck Beijing" World Cup.

(Xinhua News Agency August 13, 2008)

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