The diving events at the 12th China FINA World Championships in
Melbourne went well for China as the nation's team collected the
first two diving golds with Wang Feng and Qin Kai claiming the 3m
synchronized springboard event and Jia Tong and Chen Ruolin topping
standings in the women's 10m synchronized platform. Despite this
medal haul, China will have a way to go to catch Russia who lead
the medal table after Monday's events with five medals overall,
including three golds.
Yesterday saw diving events begin at the biennial championships
which opened on March 17 and new pair Wang Feng and Qin Kai started
their partnership perfectly by winning the men's 3m synchronized
springboard with a score of 458.76 points.
Despite lingering back in fourth position after the second
round, the Chinese duo pulled off two superb dives to recover to
second after the fourth round. The arena was then plunged into
darkness during a 25-minute power cut, but Wang and Qin showed
their composure at the restart with fabulous dives ranking 3.4 and
then 3.5 in degree of difficulty to take the gold ahead of
Canadians Alexandre Despatie and Arturo Miranda, and Germany's
Tobias Schellenberg and Andreas Wels.
Wang Feng (R) and Qin Kai
"I hope this title could give a leg up to China," said an
ebullient Qin Kai, who earned his first national team gold
Pre-tournament favorites Russia saw a calamitous end to the
night since after leading for three rounds, Aleksandr Dobroskok
hesitated on the board in the fourth and the last rounds,
allowing his partner to complete the routine alone, a fault
punished with two zeros.
"Dobroskok put one foot too far back and couldn't properly take
off from the board. Actually, they are pretty strong and went for
some difficult moves," China's diving team leader Zhou Jihong
The women's 10m synchronized platform saw a meld of youth and
experience with 16-year-old Jia Tong, having already won the 2005
championships with Yuan Peilin, continuing her dominance of her
event along with new teammate, 14-year-old Chen Ruolin, since their
picture-perfect performance got them the gold 361.32 points,
relegating of Australia's Melissa Wu and Briony Cole (324.00) into
second and Germany's Annett Gamm and Nora Sunschinski (306.63) into
Jia Tong (L) and Chen Ruolin
In the pool, China's two top-ranked players, Wu Peng and female
swimmer Qi Hui, will aim to emulate their diving peers' success.
Their respective personal bests are 1 minute and 54.91 seconds in
the men's 200m butterfly for Wu and 2 minutes and 22.99 seconds in
the women's 200m breaststroke for Qi.
China's synchronized swimmers will also have the opportunity to
recapture the success enjoyed at the Doha Asian Games when they took both the team
and pair events. Japan's "god-mother" of synchronized swimming
Masayo Imura, who took over the Chinese team last year, aims to
hoist China into the top five teams in the world.
China has sent its biggest 179-member delegation, including 104
athletes, to Melbourne. The team, a mix of experience and innocence
with 52 newcomers to the international scene, will compete the five
disciplines: swimming, open water swimming, water polo, diving, and
synchronized swimming. An estimated 2,000 athletes from 175
countries will face off at the world's largest swimming meet which
will run until April 1.
In the last world championships in Montreal, Canada, China
bagged five golds from diving alone, coming third behind the US and
Russia with 13 golds and 10 respectively.
(China.org.cn by Li Xiao, March 20, 2007)