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Chinese Zhou leads way in men's platform diving preliminary
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Chinese diver Zhou Luxin led the men's 10m platform preliminaries at the Beijing Olympics on Friday.

As world No.2 in the event, Zhou posted the top qualifying score of 539.80 points, more than 30 points over his closest rival Matthew Mitcham of Australia.

Zhou seized the lead from the second dive, a back two-and-a-half somersault and one-and-a-half twists in pike position, for which he achieved second highest 91.80 points.

He picked up one perfect 10s in his fourth dive, an inward three-and-a-half somersault in tuck position, amassing the highest 99.00 points.

"I performed to my normal level today. I hope to show even better in the semifinals and final tomorrow," said the 20-year-old Zhou.

World No.3 Mitcham stood second at 509.60 points. Russian world champion Gleb Galperin finished third with 499.95.

Another Chinese diver Huo Liang, newly-crowned synchro champion, advanced to the semifinal in eighth place.

The top 18 finishers in the 30-man field advanced to Saturday morning's semifinals, with the top 12 from that session making the final, scheduled for Saturday night.

It is the last diving event of the Beijing Olympics. The two Chinese favorites aim to collect the eighth and last gold medal for the diving powerhouse China.

(Xinhua News Agency August 22, 2008)

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