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DWS 2010 - Veracruz (II), Day 1: Mexico’s Yahel Castillo surprises at third meet

Diving World Series

With Yahel Castillo’s gold medal gained in the 3m springboard as well as Paola Espinosa and pair German Sanchez and Ivan Garcia picking up silver in the 10m platform and the 10m platform synchro events respectively, the Mexican delegation delighted the home crowd during the third meet of the FINA / Li-Ning Diving World Series 2010, which is repeated in the Reform Laws Aquatic Complex, in Veracruz.

The third meet was initially scheduled on April 23-24 in Sheffield (GBR) but due to restrictions on air traffic in the European sky, the meet had to be cancelled.

China added "three crowns" in-a-raw from the World Series with Chen Ruolin’s performance in the women's 10m platform and the pair Yuan Cao / Yanquan Zhang in the men’s 10m platform synchro event.

Castillo’s close-to-perfect dive in the 3m springboard event allowed him to climb the podium, after an outstanding performance where the degree of difficulty (DD) displayed in his six dives granted him marks between 8.5 and 9.

In the first four rounds, the leader’s position altered between China’s Qin Kai, American Troy Dumais and Canadian Alexandre Despatie, who took gold in the same event in the second stage last week-end. Castillo’s fifth dive (Reverse 3 ½ Somersault, Tuck) with DD 3.5 was key to receive scores of 9 and take possession of first place.

The Mexican diver finalised a score of 504.60, beating Canada's Alexandre Despatie, silver-medallist with 495.95 (he finished first in the second meet). China’s Qin Kai secured the bronze with a total 484.85 (he took gold in the DWS first meet in Qingdao, China).

Reflecting on his results, Castillo said: "I was not satisfied with the bronze I had gained in the last stage, so it was revenge against myself: I wanted to improve my dives and fix the mistakes I had committed." Castillo added he felt good to compete in Mexico, recalling his gold medal gained in the 2008 edition of the World Series in Tijuana.

For its part, Castillo’s coach Jorge Rueda congratulated his award and noted that he was the diver who performed with the highest degree of difficulty, besides being the only one who broke the 500 points on this date in the series.

In the women’s 10m platform event, world champion Paola Espinosa repeated her feat with a second silver medal, only fourteen points behind Olympic champion Chen Ruolin, who occupied the highest podium for the third consecutive time. The competition consisted of five dives without limit of degree of difficulty, in which a fierce duel took place between the Mexican and the Chinese queen. In the end, Chen Ruolin finished victorious totalling 403.75 points, followed by home favourite Paola Espinosa with 388.80 and China's Li Kang, who placed third with 365.15 points.

The women’s 3m synchro event brought more gold to the Chinese team composed by Wu Minxia and Zi He (who also took gold in the second leg of the Series), totalling 336.60 points. The Chinese pair proved to be far superior to their Russian rivals, Svetlana Filippova and Anastasia Podznyakova, who picked up silver with a score of 297.78. The American Ariel Rittenhouse and Victoria Ishimatsu claimed third spot, scoring 292.20.

In the men’s 10m platform synchro event, the Chinese pair Yuan Cao and Yanquan Zhang thrilled Mexican fans with their timeliness and cleanliness of the water inflows, before sweeping gold with a total score of 466.56. German Sanchez and Ivan Garcia made their first podium appearance at a Diving World Series, clinching silver with a score of 443.34 (they had to settle for fourth in Qingdao, half a point behind third place, the bronze ending in Guerra and Aguirre’s hands). The bronze that day again was reserved for the Cuban pair Jose Guerra and Jeinkler Aguirre, who scored 441.21 points.

The third and final day of the FINA / Li-Ning Diving World Series 2010 will continue on Wednesday, April 21, 2010.