2nd May 2015
Normal service resumed, on the opening day of the FINA/NVC Diving World Series in London, as Chinese divers claimed all four of the day’s titles.
The women’s and men’s 3m Synchro Springboard and women’s and men’s 10m Synchro Platform all went China’s way just as they had at the three earlier events in the Diving World Series in Beijing, Dubai and Kazan.
The men’s 3m Synchro Springboard proved to be the most dramatic of the day as Qin Kai and Cao Yuan showed why they have three Olympic titles between building on a slender 1.20 point lead, after round one, to eventually take gold with 447.75 points.
Behind them Ilia Zakharov and Evgeny Kuznetsov of Russia and Patrick Hausding and Stephen Feck of Germany were second and third respectively until the end of round three.
An eventful fourth round saw the German pair fail a dive and Jack Laugher and Christopher Mears of Great Britain catapult themselves from fourth to second place.
Cheered by the home crowd Laugher and Mears then produced the dive of the competition - a forward 4 1/2 somersault in the tuck position - to score 95.76 points and secure silver with 433.80 points.
Zakharov and Kuznetsov took bronze with 429.21 points.
Qin Kai admitted their final 4 1/2 somersaults was, ‘less than ideal’. ‘It was me that made the mistake,’ said Cao Yuan. ‘I need to continue training to improve it,’ he added.
In the women’s 3m Synchro Springboard Wu Minxia, 29, and partner, Shi Tingmao, 23, led throughout, finishing with 331.50 points.
Wu, who became the first female diver in history to win gold in the same event at three consecutive Olympic Games when she took gold in the 3m Synchro Springboard in 2012, is now looking to take part in a fourth Games in Rio next year. ‘I am training for that,’ she said.
Italy’s Tania Cagnotto - who has already competed at four Olympic Games - and partner Francesca Dallape dived consistently throughout to take silver with 314.40 points. It was their first medal of the series.
Bronze went to Jennifer Abel and Pamela Ware of Canada with 295.68 points beating the British pair of Rebecca Gallantree and Alicia Blagg by just 0.24 of a point.
Earlier in the day the event had started with victory for China’s Chen Ruolin, 22, and Lui Huixia, 17, in the 10m Synchro Platform. The pair led from first to last dive to win with 332.88 points, nearly 18 points ahead of the Malaysia pair of Jun Hoong Cheong and Mun Yee Leong who took silver with 314.94 points.
Entering the final round the Chinese pair had a comfortable 17.94 cushion and needed 56.94 to win. Their back 2 1/2 somersaults, with 1 1/2 twists, scored 74.88 points taking them to victory with ease.
The win means Chen - who won gold in the 10m Platform and 10m Synchro Platform at both the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games - and Lui have now won each of the four rounds of the World Diving Series adding gold in London to the three previous titles in Kazan, Dubai and Beijing.
‘Like every sportsperson it’s not about the points, it’s about the winning,’ Chen said. ’You can’t relax,’ she said. ‘You need to make sure every dive is right’.
Diving in front of a noisy home crowd Tonia Couch and Sarah Barrow from Great Britain were just 2.10 points behind the silver medal position entering the final round.
But it was the Malaysian pair who finished with a stronger final dive taking silver with 314.94 points leaving the British to settle for bronze with 311.88 points. It’s the second bronze of the series for Couch and Barrow following third in Kazan.
In the men’s event it was all about the minor medals as Lin Yue, 22, and Chen Aisen led after round one of the six round competition and never looked back.
Undefeated in Beijing, Dubai and Kazan Lin and Chen made it four wins out of four scoring 474.84 points.
At the start of the sixth round just 0.66 of a point separated Germany’s Patrick Hausding and Sascha Klein, in second, from Mexico’s German Sanchez and Ivan Garcia.
It was the Germans though, who held of for silver thanks to 84.24 from their last dive, a back 2 1/2 somersaults with 2 1/2 twists, giving them a final total of 427.02 points. The Mexicans took bronze with 420.78 points reversing positions from Kazan.
‘I was satisfied with my first few dives,’ Lin said afterwards, ‘but I need to improve the last few. The only way to do this is to make sure I’m prepared every single day.’
The FINA/NVC Diving World Series is taking place at the London Aquatics Centre from May 1-3.