YOG Singapore 2010, Day 11: Aquatics programme closes with last gold for China in diving

Youth Olympic Games

China closed the Aquatics programme of these Youth Olympic Games with the gold of Bo Qiu in the men’s 10m platform. If we consider Swimming and Diving (the only FINA disciplines represented in the competition), it was China’s 15th gold, after earning 11 titles in the pool (out of 34 races at the Singapore Sports School) and all the four events contested in Diving (at the Toa Payoh Swimming Complex). Following his triumph in the men’s 3m springboard (China brought the same athletes for the 3m springboard and 10m platform: among men, Bo Qiu, and in the women’s field, Jiao Liu, also victorious on two occasions), Qiu got an easy win in the 10m platform, concluding first with a total of 673.50. The final was marked by a 20-minute break due to a malfunctioning in the lighting towers (between the fourth and fifth round of dives).

In the preliminaries (overall, the best of the four diving events), the Chinese champion was the only diver to have received a 9.5-mark from the judges, and it appeared very obvious that no one could realistically beat him in the final. With a very demanding programme (dives ranging between DD 3.2 and 3.7), Qiu was very regular throughout the entire final, getting the first perfect three 10s of the entire competition on his first attempt, an inward 3 ½ somersault, tuck position (DD 3.2). On his most difficult combination, a forward 4 ½ somersault, tuck position (DD 3.7), he got the highest score of the diving events in Singapore (103.60, including two 10). Qiu was silver medallist of the 10m platform event at the 2009 FINA World Championships, held in Rome (ITA).

Behind the men’s star of this diving competition, Oleksandr Bondar (UKR, and also second in Singapore in the 3m springboard) confirmed the good impression given in the heats (second) and got the silver, in a “distant” 605.55 (getting also some 10s from the judges). Both Qiu and Bondar were consistently above their main challengers in Singapore and if the Chinese has already a solid international career, the two silver medals for Bondar open excellent perspectives for the future. 

China's Bo Qiu - credit: Xinhua-Syogoc/Guo Lei

Like in the previous events of the diving programme, the bronze medal was also this time the main focus of suspense, with Ivan Garcia (from Mexico) finishing in third after the preliminaries. In the final, the Mexican was also quite solid and earned bronze in 515.70. The other potential candidates to the third position – such as Il Myong Hyon (PRK) or Tim Piritz (GER) – committed respectively a disastrous fourth and third dive and lost all chances to get into the podium area.

Guo inspires the Youth

Between the preliminaries and the final session of the diving men’s 10m platform, took place in the Toa Payoh Complex an action called “Sport Initiation Programme”, by which great champions from each of the 26 sports represented in the Games participate in a concrete action to initiate to this discipline those who don’t know much about it.

For Diving, the 60 participants in this action had the privilege of having Jingjing Guo (CHN), the best diver in history with them for a two-hour session that included “Diving Initiation”, “Forward & Backward Jumps”, “Forward Rolls”, “Trampoline Work”, “Jumps & Entries” and finally “Jumps” from the 3m springboard. Guo arrived to the pool and immediately participated (despite the heat) in each of the working groups, either by giving some suggestions, or by physically doing some of the exercises. Visibly happy to be surrounded by young children looking for an initiation in a very demanding discipline, the four-time Olympic champion, and 10-time world champion, accomplished in the best possible way her function of “Athlete’s Role Model” in diving.

At the end of the initiative, most of the children were too young to understand the importance of Jingjing Guo and what she represents in the history of diving, but went home with the satisfaction of having performed, perhaps, the first dive of a very successful career. The parents who accompanied them will then recall that on that day of August 24, 2010 they were very young children who had the honour of sharing the knowledge and passion of legendary diver Jingjing Guo.

Jingjing Guo in action: learning with the best diver in history
credit: Pedro Adrega