China’s bid for gold sweep gathers pace

China’s Wang Hao (front) and Chen Ruolin dive during the 10m platform synchro final Monday. Photo: Lu Yun/GT

China doubled their gold medal haul at the world championships’ diving events Monday as their bid for a historic clean sweep quickly gathered pace.

Chen Ruolin and Wang Hao dominated the women’s 10m platform synchro, shortly after Li Shixin and He Min’s brave one-two in the men’s 1m springboard, giving China all four diving titles so far.

Chen won her third straight world title in the event after amassing 362.58 points with Wang, with Australian Olympic silver medalist Melissa Wu and Alexandra Croak second and Germans Christin Steuer and Nora Subschinski third.

“I think the top three teams all could have won, it just depends on who performs the best,” said Chen.

“I never think too much during the competition, or my performance will be affected.”

After three days of competition, China have won not only every title, but also every heat at Shanghai’s open-air Crescent Lagoon venue, putting them on course to become the first country to win all 10 diving gold medals.

In the men’s event, Li Shixin stormed back from a ragged dive three to clinch first place, while compatriot He Min clawed his way from fourth to second spot, leapfrogging Germany’s Pavlo Rozenberg with his very last plunge.

Li’s messy entry on the third of his six dives, a reverse 2.5 somersault in the pike position, looked to open the door to Rozenberg. But the 23-year-old nailed his last three dives to finish with 463.90 points.

He saved his best for last as he pulled off a precision inward 2.5 somersault in the pike for 81.60 points, pushing Rozenberg into the bronze medal po-sition.

The climax of the competition was briefly interrupted when Mexico’s Daniel Islas crashed his right foot painfully against the board during his final dive, and left the pool deck in a wheelchair.

“I believe I didn’t perform all that well at first because I was a bit nervous. But in the later dives I started to relax,” said Li.

Russian synchronized swimming queen Natalia Ishchenko scooped her 12th world championships gold medal as she combined with Svetlana Romashina to win the synchronized swimming duets technical competition.

The 25-year-old Ishchenko, who won her third successive solo technical gold Sunday, and Romashina dazzled to an upbeat jungle-themed routine replete with heavy drum rhythms and animal calls to score 98.20 points.

China’s Huang Xuechen, who clinched silver behind Ishchenko in the solo competition, and Liu Ou were second on 96.50.

Spain’s Andrea Fuentes won her second bronze of the championships after she and Ona Carbonell combined to a techno pop version of the “Crazy Frog” to score 95.40 points.

Agencies

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