CHANGZHOU, China, June 4. Despite knees injuries, Olympic champion He Chong retained the men's 3m springboard title while the pair Chen Ruolin/Wang Hao secured the gold in the women's 10m platform on day 4 of the FINA Diving World Cup in Changzhou, China.
He, who claimed his first world title by winning the 3m springboard at the 2008 World Cup before he collected the Olympic trophy, has been suffering knees injuries for years.
He announced his return in Changzhou after being absent from competition for more than six months and defended his title victoriously in the 3m springboard, finishing with a total 546.55 points, beating teammate Qin Kai who took silver with 522.35 points. Russia's Evgeny Kuznetsov, who took the lead after three dives, finally placed third, totaling 501.85 points.
Canada's diving icon Alexandre Despatie placed only seventh (476.85 points) after making a mistake in the sixth dive.
In He's last dive (Forward 2 1/2 Somersault 3 Twists, Pike), he scored a day-high 107.25 for the highest degree of difficulty (3.9).
On his result, the reigning world champion showed confidence: "My last dive could be called perfect. I have not performed like this for a long time. I felt very tired after heats, semi finals and finals within one day."
The 23-year-old added: "I'm happy I can return to the competition after the knee injury, but I'm not back to my peak form. To be honest, I'm impressed by Russian Kuznetsov's performance today. He is very tough, and will be tougher very soon."
In the women's field, two-time Olympic winner Chen Ruolin and new partner Wang Hao dominated the 10m platform synchro event from the beginning on, taking gold with a final 349.56, 18 points higher than silver medallists Alexandra Croak and Melissa Wu from Australia. Canada's Meaghan Benfeito and Roseline Filion settled for the bronze, totaling 322.89 points.
Chen, who lost the gold to 14-year-old teammate Hu Yadan in the women's 10m platform the day before, put it straight: "I'm not afraid of failure. I'm experienced and consistent. I believe in myself."
The men's 10m platform synchro and women's 3m springboard finals will take place on June 5.
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