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SHANGHAI, China, July 17. ALL signs point to China continuing its mastery over the diving discipline at the 2011 FINA World Championships, as the host country already is two-for-two in gold medal opportunities after two days of diving.
China maintained its dominance in the men's 10-meter synchro event as Qiu Bo and Huo Liang crushed the competition in the event with 480.03 points. The win is China's third straight world title in the event, following Huo Liang and Lin Yue's 2007 and 2009 victories. The win is Huo's third straight, and second with a new partner. China has won five out of the seven world titles offered in the events history since debuting at the 1998 Perth World Championships.
"The opponents are all hard to beat, but we just think about our performance," Huo said. "The coach told us that the only opponent is ourselves and that if you can focus you win the title. I used to cooperate with Lin Yue at the Olympics, and it was a great experience. Now, my new partner, Qiu Bo is great too, although we haven't competed together for a long time."
Germany's Patrick Hausding and Sascha Klein claimed silver with 443.01 points. That silver is the first podium for the nation in the event since Jan Hempel and Michael Kuhne also finished runner-up to China back at the 1998 Championships.
"It's my third world championships, and it's my first medal," Hausding said. "I am very happy and satisfied with my performance. We did not practice for difficulty 4.0."
Ukraine's Oleksandr Gorshkovozov and Oleksandr Bondar completed the podium with a bronze-winning 435.36. The bronze is Ukraine's third medal in the event's history. Roman Volodkov and Anton Zakharov took bronze in 2001 in Fukuoka, while the two picked up silver in 2003 in Barcelona.
"We prepared very well so the result is good," Gorshkovozov said. "We are very happy."
USA's David Boudia and Nick McCrory had a chance to medal, but settled for fifth with 420.69 points after having the second-to-last dive total in the fifth round to fall out of contention.
In other qualifying, China's Wang Han (306.60) and Shi Tingmao (294.65) topped the women's one-meter springboard event. Australia's Sharleen Stratton (282.45), USA's Abby Johnston (282.40) and Sweden's Anna Lindberg (276.05) qualified third through fifth.
"Today is so hot," Wang said. "The wind was so strong that it influenced my second dive. This time my opponents are not that strong, so I hope that I can grab the chance. I will try to stay calm in the final and to avoid mistakes."
Italy's Maria Elisabetta Marconi (264.25), Russia's Nadezda Bazhina (262.75), Russia's Anastasia Pozdniakova (260.00), Ukraine's Olena Fedorova (258.30), Australia's Brittany Broben (257.10), USA's Kelci Bryant (257.00) and Italy's Tania Cagnotto (253.15) also earned spots in the finale.
The women's one-meter event is one of the few that China has not maintained a stranglehold on at the World Championships since it first appeared in 1991. China has won three of the eight world titles, while Russia's Yulia Pakhalina earned the victory in 2009.