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China asserts supremacy in synchro diving
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"Why are the Chinese divers so strong?" Newly-crowned Chinese Wang Feng and Qin Kai were raised the same question just as their fellows had been asked these days.

China asserts supremacy in synchro divingHowever, Russian legendary Dmitry Sautin picked up the question first.

"There is no doubt the Chinese are strong. Four gold medals in four synchronized events," said the five-time Olympian, the Chinese duo's closest rival in the 3m springboard synchro at Beijing Olympics on Wednesday.

"They are very hard-working. They trained a lot and you can see this from the good results they are achieving at the Olympic Games," the Russian czar added.

Qin and Wang, defending champions of 2008 Beijing World Cup and the 2007 World Championships in Melbourne, made it fourth Olympic diving title for China when they twirled to a comprehensive victory in the men's 3m springboard synchro competition.

"China has many backup diving talents and within a quite short time, we can gather those talents from all over China," said Wang, replying to the opening question.

"Besides, we have very tough training regime. Both reasons contribute to our success," the 29-year-old added.

With their clean victory, dominant China has swept all the four golds in synchronized diving events at the Beijing Games.

"The 3m springboard synchro gold was the only synchro title we missed four years ago in Athens, so we were uneasy before the games," said Chinese team leader Zhou Jihong.

"But Qin and Wang gave us flawless performance today. Everything is just so perfect," she added, expressing satisfaction over the golden pair.

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.

However, Qin and Wang, 21 and 29 respectively, managed to amend their teammates' disappointing show four years later, and reasserted China's supremacy in the event.

Teamed up for over 20 months, the duo opened the springboard synchro final with an almost perfect back dive, for which they achieved three maximum 10 scores.

After their fourth dive, a most difficult forward two-and-a-half somersault in pike position, they secured the gold by edging closest rivals Sautin and his 18-year-old partner with over 20 points.

"We performed very well today. This gold is so important to my life. I will still try hard to attend the next Olympics," said world champion Wang, who has collected up to 99 medals in all kinds of competitions, only short of an Olympic gold.

Among the performances of the four Chinese duo golden on home soil, Zhou Jihong commended Qin and Wang as "outstanding", while considering others as "in form".

In the previous three days, the National Aquatics Center, known as the Water Cube, had witnessed sweeping victory of another three duos, Guo Jingjing and Wu Minxia, Lin Yue and Huo Liang, Chen Ruolin and Wang Xin.

All of them crushed rivals to end undisputed competition.

Commenting on China's dominance in synchro events, Chen Wen, head coach of the British diving team, said that unlike Chinese divers who start systematic training at very young age and thus gain solid basic skills, divers of other countries usually take up diving at elder ages out of their interests.

"We seldom have pairs with almost the same good techniques. That's why we are less competent with the Chinese in synchro events than individual ones," he said.

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

The Chinese Dream Team is ambitious to take all of the eight diving gold medals at the Beijing Olympics.

However, Zhou Jihong warned of even tougher battles in individual events starting Friday.

"We have very strong rivals who are waging tough fights in the coming individual events," she said.

"Everything is possible in the Olympic Games, which differs a lot from other competitions, " Zhou warned. "We have to go all out to fight in each event, and never treat them as a piece of cake in hand."

(Xinhua News Agency August 14, 2008)

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