China keep sights set on clean sweep

China’s Huo Liang (front) and Qiu Bo dive during the men’s 10m synchro platform preliminaries. Photo: CFP

China blew away the competition with an emphatic display of diving Sunday to make it two world championships gold medals out of two as they chase a historic clean sweep.

Olympic champion Huo Liang shrugged off the loss of long-time partner Lin Yue to injury as he combined perfectly with newcomer Qiu Bo in the 10m synchro – and claimed his third straight world title in the event.

Huo and Qiu totaled 480.03 points, leaving Germany’s Patrick Hausding and Sascha Klein 37.02 adrift in the silver medal position with Ukrainians Oleksandr Gorshkovozov and Oleksandr Bondar claiming bronze.

British individual 10m world champion Tom Daley, 17, grieving the loss of his father to cancer just two months ago, placed sixth alongside partner Peter Waterfield.

Huo and Qiu claimed gold despite being together for just a matter of months after Lin was ruled out through injury, highlighting the Chinese diving dynasty’s extraordinary strength in depth.

“I haven’t worked with Qiu Bo for so long, but our cooperation was smooth and we relate well,” said Huo. Qiu added that it would “depend on the coaches’ arrangements” whether the two would combine at next year’s London Olympic Games.

China also won the tournament’s first gold, the women’s 3m synchro, Saturday to make the early running in their first world championships on home turf.

China, hosting the biennial championships at Shanghai’s Oriental Sports Center, are gunning for the first ever diving gold medal sweep after missing only one at the 2008 Beijing Games and winning seven out of 10 in 2009.

China’s Huang Xuechen also brought cheers for the hosts who claimed the first ever medal in the women’s technical solo.

Huang finished second with 96.500 points behind Russian synchronized swimming queen Natalia Ishchenko, who bagged her 11th world championships gold medal.

In the 10m synchro final, Huo and Qiu executed a backwards 3.5 somersault in the pike position for their fourth dive and rounded off the contest with a breathtaking backward two-and-a-half somersault with two-and-a-half twist which earned them 98.28 points.

American David Boudia, a 2009 silver medalist, and his partner Nick McCrory rued a botched fifth dive which kept them out of the medals.

Earlier, Wang Han and Shi Tingmao finished first and second in the women’s 1m springboard to maintain China’s 100 percent record in the diving preliminaries. The final will be contested tomorrow.

On Saturday, highly decorated Wu Minxia and injured 20-year-old He Zi dominated the women’s 3m synchro and Wu claimed her fifth gold medal in the event.

Agencies – Global Times

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