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China Leads in Two More Diving Events
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China kept up its diving domination, leading the preliminaries in two more world championship events Tuesday.

Luo Yutong upstaged his No. 1-ranked teammate He Chong by a big margin - 466.50 points to 423.30 - in men's 1-meter springboard, giving Luo a good chance of upsetting He in Wednesday's semifinal and final.

Meanwhile, Chen Ruolin was easily the top diver in women's 10-meter platform, totaling 400.80 points for her five dives. Mexico's Paola Espinosa claimed second with 367.15, just ahead of China's other diver, Wang Xin, at 366.45.

The powerful Chinese got off to a rousing start Monday with wins in both synchronized diving events.

Defending 10-meter world champion Laura Wilkinson had a major scare. The 29-year-old American botched three straight dives but pulled it out with her final attempt, a back 2{ somersault with 1{ twists.

She scored high enough to leap from 22nd to 16th, squeaking into Wednesday's semifinals. The top 18 advanced, with the 12-woman final set for the evening.

"Don't ever, ever give up until it's over," said Wilkinson, who has a history of rallying on her final dive.

Although Wilkinson is the defending world champion and captured the platform title at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Chen is favored in the event after winning five Grand Prix titles last year.

Wang, her 14-year-old teammate, is looking to pull another upset after beating Chen by a mere 1.15 points at the 2006 Asian Games.

Another former world champion, Canada's Emily Heymans, should be in the mix after finishing fourth in the prelims.

On the men's side, He is the top-ranked diver on the 1-meter springboard. The Chinese star won the 2006 Canada Cup, USA Diving and International grand prix events.

He dropped off the Chinese team for the 3-meter synchronized springboard event in Melbourne, which his former partner, Wang Feng, won Monday with new teammate Qin Kai. Wang and He won the synchro title in Montreal in 2005.

"My performance was not good," He said. "It was below average and I'm not happy with the result.

"I usually don't perform well in the morning, especially in the cold weather. I don't feel energetic enough."

Luo won two titles in the 3-meter synchro with Xu Xiang on the Grand Prix circuit last year, in addition to taking silver at the 2006 World Cup in Changshu, China.

Siarhei Kuchmasau of Belarus was a long way back with 387.75 points to qualify third Tuesday, followed by Chris Colwill of the United States (387.05). Eighteen divers qualified for the semifinals on Wednesday morning, with the 12-man final later in the day.

Tuesday's morning session was delayed for about 20 minutes by a power failure, the second in two days at the complex.

Tobias Schellenberg of Germany, who qualified fifth, played cards during the power delay. He said he respects the leading Chinese divers.

"They are just fantastic, but you must not feel intimidated by them," Schellenberg said. "You can learn heaps from them. That is, by the way, one of a diver's favorite things - to sit and watch other divers train."

(China Daily via AP March 21, 2007)

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