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SHANGHAI, China, July 20. FOR the first time since diving began at the FINA World Championships this week, China did not earn a gold medal. Although, that's likely because there was not a gold medal on offer today as the women dove through qualifying rounds for the 10-meter platform event.
First, the teams dove through prelims to whittle the field down to 18, prior to cutting it down to 12 during the semifinal round.
Hu Yadan (403.65) and Chen Ruolin (385.95) qualified first and second out of semis. Hu has yet to medal in world championship competition, while Chen has earned silver in this event the past two world championships in 2007 and 2009. Chen also won gold as part of the women's 10-meter synchro with Wang Xin in 2009.
"I made a mistake in my second dive," Hu said. "That was because I thought too much before the contest. I should clear my mind and try not to think about the title in tomorrow's final."
"I was not in form this morning but got into better shape in the afternoon," Chen said. "I suppose I would hit top form next evening when the final takes place. I am confident about winning in the final. I made minor mistakes on Dive 2 because my hair touched the platform while I was jumping. I was frightened."
Mexico's Paola Espinosa earned the third qualifying spot with a 366.65. She is the defending champion in the event, as she won it in 2009 ahead of Chen. One of the few gold medals that year that went to a non-Chinese diver.
"Today, I dived better than in the preliminary," Espinosa said. "My coach gave me some suggestions and made some adjustment to the routine. I hope I can win a medal and even defend my title. Winning the gold at the Rome world championships gave me a lot of confidence."
USA's Brittany Viola just made the finale with a 12th-seeded 305.70.