Chen Aisen/Huang Xiaohui gave host China their first gold medal by sweeping the mixed team event on the opening day of the 19th FINA Diving World Cup, organised in Shanghai on July 15-20. The Chinese duo collected 408.60 points from three solid dives each to win the title, while Ukraine’s Oleksandr Bondar/Yulia Prokopchuk came second with a total 390.55. Russians Nadezhda Bazhina/Victor Minibaev took third, scoring an overall 381.30.
The team event is composed of six dives in three rounds. Each round includes two dives performed by a male diver and a female diver.
“Actually, I didn’t perform well today,” said China’s Huang. “But I’m happy as it is my first World Cup victory. It’s a good start to boost my confidence ahead of the 10m platform individual event,” she added.
“The team event doesn’t require synchronisation between us so we don’t have to dive simultaneously. It’s an interesting event to take part in,” Chen said.
“It requires divers good balance on both platform and springboard. Take us for example, we had four platform and two springboard dives in the competition because we are better on the platform,” said the 19-year-old Chen who won both individual and synchro platform events at the FINA Grand Prix in Madrid this year.
Reigning world champions in the event Wu Minxia/Shi Tingmao of China swept the womens’s 3m synchro springboard in convincing fashion on Day 2 of the 19th FINA Diving World Cup here in Shanghai on Wednesday July 16.
Despite a minor flaw in the fourth round in their Reverse 2.5 somersaults (305B), Wu and Shi never looked back from the get-go, sealing their victory with a total score of 340.50. Jenifer Abel/Pamela Ware of Canada took the silver, earning an overall 318.33 while Australians Maddison Keeney/Anabelle Smith claimed the bronze with 310.14. Mexican hopefuls Paola Espinosa/Dolores Hernandez finished at the podium’s door, totalling 305.40 points.
“The 3m synchro springboard is the only event I compete in at this World Cup since I’m getting older with more injuries. I wish I can fight on until the 2016 Rio Olympics,” said Wu, 28, the eldest and most experienced diver in the Chinese squad.
“Weather has been changeable since the World Cup started but today’s showers did not distract us at all,” Shi said.
Lin Yue/Cao Yuan continued China’s winning streak and snatched the title in the men’s 10m platform synchro, beating reigning world champions Sascha Klein/Patrick Hausding of Germany in the second session of finals on Day 2 of the 19th FINA Diving World Cup in Shanghai.
The Chinese duo took the lead from the beginning and won the gold, amassing a total 494.46. They performed a Reverse 3.5 somersaults (307C), which earned them 95.88 points, a Forward 4.5 somersaults (109C), for 95.46 points, and received a day-high 98.28 points for their brilliant Back 2.5 somersault 2.5 twists (5255B).
Runner-ups Sascha Klein/Patrick Hausding totalled 444.78 points while 2012 Olympic champion David Boudia and new partner Steele Johnson of USA took the bronze, scoring 414.12.
“Cao performed better than me. I have not been in shape and have not claimed good results in major international events since 2009. I have been waiting for the gold for a long time,” said Lin who clinched the 10m synchro title together with Huo Liang at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Lin was one of the favourites in the 10m platform at the 2013 Barcelona Worlds but made a mistake in the semifinal and failed to make the final.
Cao teammed up with Zhang Yanquan to win at the 2012 London Games but failed to repeat his success in Barcelona last year, following two big mistakes.
“I am happy with the synchro gold. We still need to learn from other divers,” said Cao who will compete in the 3m springboard in Shanghai.
“We are satisfied with the competition,” said Hausding. “The atmosphere was different here as we usually trained inside, but we still did a good job in the outside pool,” he added.
Boudia, who beat Chinese favourite Qiu Bo to claim the 10m platform gold at the 2012 Olympics, was happy with the bronze.
“It was a quite different situation from London,” he said. “It was my first time competing in synchro with Steele. I think we were on a high level and I’m happy with that.”
Olympic and world champion Chen Ruolin obtained one more title for a total tally of 20, counting also five victories in-a-row, in the women’s 10m platform synchro. Chen won the event with world championships team-mate Liu Huixia on Day 3 of the 19th FINA Diving World Cup in Shanghai.
Chen / Liu performed brillantly from dive number 1, keeping the rest of the field at bay, and smiled at last with a winning total 357.66. Malaysia’s Leong Mun Yee / Cheong Jun Hoong took silver with a total score of 336.66, edging Canadians Meaghan Benfeito / Roseline Filion, who settled for third with 335.25. Rachel Bugg / Melissa Wu of Australia were the fourth best with 331.44 points.
Chen, four-time Olympic champion, has combined with four different partners in the 10m synchro since 2007, including Jia Tong, Wang Xin, Wang Hao and Liu Huixia.
“I need to think about my partner and try my best to cooperate with her when we work as a pair in the synchro event. Liu is the easiest one to team up because she is a more capable diver,” said 21-year-old Chen.
“I try my best in every competition. I really hope my career goes beyong the 2016 Rio Olympics,” Chen said.
Chen revealed she will not compete in the individual 10m platform because of an injury. “I had injuries and took some days off for recovery. So it is good I only compete in synchro and can be a good fan cheering for my team-mates,” Chen said, with a smile.
Liu considers Chen as her idol and feels better in the synchro. “Chen is a role model for me. I was nervous working together with her last year at the FINA World Championships in Barcelona. This time I feel better and more relaxed. Our synchronisation has improved,” Liu said.
The silver medal was a big surprise for Malaysians Leong / Cheong since they just teamed up before the event. “Cheong’s previous partner was injured just before the World Cup. So I replaced her to pair with Cheong. We did not expect to win the silver at all and we just dove as best as we could,” Leong said.
In the men’s 3m synchro final, Chinese pair Lin Yue / Cao Yuan, 2008 and 2012 Olympic champions in the 10m synchro, respectively, celebrated their first 3m synchro victory in Shanghai, winning in a grueling 461.31.
The platform experts placed 11th after their first dive (101B), earning 46.20, and returned to fourth spot after their second dive. They took the lead after round 3 and kept first spot till the end to secure their win.
Germany’s Stephen Feck / Patrick Hausding came second with a total 431.40, while Russians Evgenii Kuznestsov / Ilia Zakharov, 2012 Olympic silver medallists, completed the podium with 431.34 points.
“I had a poor run in major competitions since 2009 and I want to say ‘thank you’ to those who have always supported me,” said Lin, who failed to make the final in the 10m platform at the 2013 Barcelona Worlds.
Hausding, who finished second in the 10m platform synchro on Day 2, was happy with his second silver medal.
“The Chinese divers are very competitive. We did a good job, and we are happy to win the second medal today,” he said.
This article was compiled from reports initially published by FINA.