China Claims 2 More Diving Gold Medals at 2015 FINA World Championships

Photo Courtesy: R-Sport / MIA Rossiya Segodnya

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Olympic champion Chen Ruolin claimed her fifth successive world 10m synchro gold medal and continued China’s sweep of Kazan diving titles with the nation’s fifth in five events at the 2015 FINA World Championships. Chen and Liu Huixia, her partner at the last Worlds in Barcelona in 2013 and her fourth in all, led all the way and held off the consistent challenge of Canadians Meaghan Benfeito and Roseline Filion to win by some 20 points. North Korea claimed their first medal in any of the aquatic disciplines in the 42-year history of the World Championships as Kim Un-hyang and Song Nam-hyang gained a well-earned bronze.

Chen competed with a bandage on her right shoulder but whatever discomfort she may have felt did not seem to affect her performance. Chen, still only 22 yet with so much experience behind her, and 17-year-old Liu compiled a total of 359.52 points in the five-dive final, with Benfeito and Filion, bronze medallists at the 2012 Olympics, settling for silver, as they did at the 2013 Worlds in Barcelona, with 339.99. Kim and Song held their nerve, while seasoned rivals, including Malaysia’s Pandelela Rinong Pamg and Mun Yee Leong, world bronze medallists in 2009 and 2013, fell by the wayside. The North Koreans finished on 325.26 points, almost 15 points ahead of experienced fourth-placed Mexicans Paola Espinosa and Alejandra Orozco.

Chen, twice double Olympic champion in 10m individual and synchro, lost her place in China’s line-up for the individual 10m for Kazan but she could not be denied gold in her sole event in the Aquatics Palace. Chen, who won the world 10m individual title in 2011 amid silvers in 2007, 2009 and 2013, has now collected six World Championship gold medals. China has won the women’s 10m synchro title eight times in succession at the World Championships, only the first in 1998 eluding them.

China maintained their stranglehold on the diving titles at the FINA World Championships when Xie Siyi won the men’s 1m springboard crown to make it four wins out of four for his country in Kazan. Xie broke the early challenge of Mexico’s Jorge Ocampo and swept serenely on to claim the first individual diving gold of the championships after the first three synchronised titles had also fallen to China.

Xie succeeded Li Shixin, world champion in 2011 and 2013 and the only man to have retained the title, but he had to work hard before eventually landing the gold by a handsome margin of over 36 points. Ocampo, 2013 world synchronised 3m bronze medallist, had led qualifiers in the preliminary round and held sway through the first three rounds of the six-dive final.

But the Mexican faltered in the fourth round and dropped further adrift in the fifth, finishing outside the medals as Illya Kvasha of Ukraine and Mike Hixon of the United States came through for silver and bronze. Hixon was way down the field until the penultimate round, when he pulled up to fifth, but he kept the momentum going and overhauled Ukraine’s Oleg Kolodiy and Ocampo with a final high-scoring inward 2-1/2 somersaults which secured bronze by a tiny 0.95 points.

Xie won with 485.50 points, with Kvasha repeating his 1m silver medal of 2013 with 449.05 and Hixon claiming the bronze, the first US diving medal of the championships, with 428.30. Ocampo had to settle for fourth (427.35). Xie’s team-mate He Chao seemed to pose a threat at the halfway stage but failed to nail the rest of his dives and ended up a distant seventh.

China have failed to win the men’s 1m event only three times, having triumphed in eight of 11 editions since it entered the World Championship progamme in 1991. Canada’s Alexandre Despatie was the last non-Chinese winner in 2005.


Xie Siyi (CHN, gold): “I did not expect to win the gold. It is my first World Championships, I thought a medal should be good for me because I have just turned to springboard for about six months”.

“I was very nervous during the preliminaries and did not perform my best. Today I just showed my normal training form and felt more relaxed than in the heats. I was second after the first three dives but I was confident that I could come back in the second half of the competition”.

“To be honest, my twist dive is not good and not stable as other experienced divers. That’s why I put 5335D as my first dive”.

“I was a platform diver who is good at 109C and 409C before I broke my right ankle in early 2014. I had to change to springboard due to the injury at the beginning of this year. I will try my best in my next mixed team event together with Olympic champion Chen Ruolin”.

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2015 FINA World Championships, Diving: Day 4 Results – Results