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'Diving czar' Sautin vows to fight on
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At 34, Dmitry Sautin is still diving and could spring to medal.


The Russian, dubbed "the diving czar", took the silver in the men's 3m springboard synchronized event at the "Good Luck Beijing" 16th FINA Diving World Cup in Beijing on Tuesday.


"I am satisfied with our performance today," said Sautin. "To take a sliver is good. We will train harder to compete with Chinese divers in future competitions."


Sautin was quite happy to qualify for the Beijing Olympic Games.


"We will do our best in August in Beijing, but a gold might be too difficult for us," he said.


He has always been a tough challenger for the Chinese in the past decade. He won his first Olympic medal at the age of 18, and he took the bronze in the men's 3m springboard event in 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games.


At 22, Sautin became an Olympic champion as he clinched the gold of the 10m platform event in the 1996 Olympics.


Sautin took four medals in the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, one gold in 10m platform synchro, one silver in 3m springboard synchro, and two bronzes in 3m springboard and 10m platform respectively.


At 30, Sautin competed his fourth Olympic Games in Athens. He lost to Canadian golden boy Despaite and took the bronze in 3m springboard.


The legend also has participated in the world championships for five times, and claimed nine medals.


Sautin said he has always battled against the Chinese divers throughout his career and they were strong all along. "If I were younger, it would be easier to compete with them."


He has never tried to avoid the topic on his age.


"I'm really tired. It's hard, and I'm old," Sautin said after the preliminary on Tuesday.


After attending his fourth Olympic Games in Athens 2004, the prolific diver began to brew his retirement. But now he is going to fight in his fifth Olympic Games.


Sautin talked about his retirement after Tuesday's final: "I will retire from competitive diving after the Beijing Olympic Games."


"I will compete in the synchronized events in the Beijing Olympic Games, and individual event is also possible," added the 34-year-old.


(Xinhua News Agency February 20, 2008)

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