Mon, Jul 18, 2011 - Page 20 News List

China claim second diving gold; bid for perfection still alive


China’s Qiu Bo and Huo Liang compete in the men’s 10m synchronized diving final at the FINA world championships yesterday in Shanghai.

Photo: Reuters

China stayed perfect yesterday in the world championships diving events as grieving British star Tom Daley’s hopes were hit by a last-minute illness to his 10m synchronized partner Peter Waterfield.

Olympic champion Huo Liang combined with new partner Qiu Bo to claim his third straight world title in the event, shrugging off the loss of long-time teammate Lin Yue to injury.

Huo and Qiu totaled 480.03 points, leaving Germany’s Patrick Hausding and Sascha Klein 37.02 adrift in the silver medal position with Ukrainians Oleksandr Gorshkovozov and Oleksandr Bondar claiming bronze.

Individual 10m world champion Daley, 17, whose father died from brain cancer just two months ago, finished sixth with Waterfield, who missed a week of training with flu-like symptoms.

Daley, who will defend his individual title at the outdoor Crescent Lagoon venue, said competing had helped lift his spirits after the loss of his father, Robert, who was his ever-present companion on the diving circuit.

Huo and Qiu also overcame obstacles to claim gold. The two had been together for just a matter of months after Lin was ruled out through injury, underlining the Chinese diving dynasty’s extraordinary strength in depth.

China also won the women’s 3m synchronized on Saturday as they target the first ever clean sweep of diving titles, after winning seven out of 10 two years ago in Rome.

Meanwhile Russia’s synchronized swimming queen Natalia Ishchenko claimed the event’s first gold — and her 11th world title — when she won the technical solo ahead of China’s Huang Xuechen and Andrea Fuentes of Spain.

In the men’s diving final, Huo and Qiu stamped their authority with a piked backward three-and-a-half somersault and rounded it off with a backwards two-and-a-half somersault with two-and-a-half twists which won them 98.28 points.

American David Boudia, a 2009 silver medalist, and his partner Nick McCrory rued a botched fifth dive, which kept them out of the medals, despite placing second in the preliminaries.

Earlier, Wang Han and Shi Tingmao finished first and second in the women’s 1m springboard heat to maintain China’s 100 percent record in the diving preliminaries.

The 16-day championships formally opened with a colorful opening ceremony late on Saturday with water polo also under way yesterday. The swimming events start nex Sunday.

However, the tournament has been overshadowed by a high-profile doping case involving Brazilian swimming star Cesar Cielo, with officials tightening their drug-testing regime in a bid to catch cheats.

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