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China's He Chong golden in 3m springboard
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China's He Chong wins men's 3m springboard diving gold medal. [Xinhua]

China's He Chong wins men's 3m springboard diving gold medal. [Xinhua] 

China swept the first six diving gold at Beijing Olympic Games as He Chong won the men's three-meter springboard gold on Tuesday.

He, 21, currently ranked No. 1 of the event in the world, led all the way to collect 572.90 points.

Canadian golden boy Alexandre Despatie, silver medallist of the event in 2004 Athens Olympics, took the silver again in 536.65, while the bronze went to Qin Kai in 530.10.

He, who is famed for commanding a set of difficult dives, also won the gold in the event in the 2008 World Cup on February.

Qin, 22, winner of the event in 2007 Melbourne World Championships, trailed Despatie in the final and tried hard to surpass him, but still failed.

The 23-year-old Canadian also took part in the 3m springboard synchro, but only finished the fifth.

Despatie, also silver medallist in 2007 Melbourne Worlds, has had a difficult year. He fractured his fifth metatarsal of the right foot during a training session in April this year and this hampered his training schedule toward the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

Russian "diving czar" Dmitry Sautin, who just claimed a silver in the synchro springboard, finished fourth in 512.65.

Beijing Olympic Games is the fifth Olympic Games Sautin participated, and also his last. The Russian diving icon made an almost perfect dive in the last round as his last dive in Olympics, which scored 99.75, the highest in his six dives and also the second in the round.

Mexico's Yahel Castillo, who is the only diver who can perform 5355B, a reverse two-and -a -half somersault and two-and-a-half twist in pike position, which difficulty degree is 3.9, only managed to take the seventh in 462.10.

China expects to make a clean sweep in the Water Cube at home soil. They swept all eight golds in the last meet of the FINA Diving Grand Prix in Rome earlier in July.

From the Beijing Games, they have taken the first six gold medals.

China has undisputed domination in diving. The Chinese diving team claimed five golds at 2000 Sydeny Olympics and further took a record six at 2004 Athens Olympics, contributing more Olympic golds for China than other Chinese teams.

(Xinhua News Agency August 19, 2008)

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