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SHANGHAI, China, July 22. THE unstoppable force that is Chinese diving has yet to meet an unmovable object at the FINA World Championships, as He Chong provided the host nation with its eighth diving gold medal of eight opportunities.
He Chong crushed the field in the men's three-meter springboard with 554.30 points to defend his 2009 world title. China has now won three straight in the event's history as Qin Kai took home gold in 2007.
"I was kind of nervous sometime during the competition, especially on Dive 2," He said. "I feel sorry for Qin Kai. He had been in the lead all the way until he made an error on Dive 5. I was exhausted after the prelim and semifinal yesterday, so the gold medal is really satisfactory."
Russia's Ilya Zakharov finished with a silver medal with 508.95 points, while compatriot Evgeny Kuznetsov completed the podium with 493.55 points. The last time two Russians made the podium in the men's three-meter springboard competition occurred in 2003 and Aleksandr Dobroskok took gold and Dmitriy Sautin earned bronze.
As mentioned by He, Qin had led all divers with 357.20 heading into the fifth of sixth dives, and suffered a 32.30 in that round. Even though he nailed his final dive for 92.40 points, he could not overcome the Russians for a medal, and finished fourth with 481.90 points. Meanwhile, USA's Troy Dumais picked up fifth-place honors with 479.95 points after taking silver in 2009.
The rest of the world has two more opportunities to derail the Chinese diving gold-medal sweep, and the women's three-meter springboard might be its best chance so far. China's Wu Minxia led qualifying through semis with 360.65 points, but Canada's Jennifer Abel finished not far behind with 359.35 points.
China's He Zhi (358.05) and Canada's Emilie Heymans (357.90) also look to be world-title contenders, while USA's Kelci Bryant (335.25) and Christina Loukas (328.95) qualified fifth and sixth.