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DWS 2011 - Day 2: China sets the tone in Moscow

Diving World Series

Among the eight divers competing in the two semifinals, He Zi (CHN) dominated the operations from the start. The Chinese prodigy scored the highest total in semifinal “B” with 365.35 points while Italian diving diva Tania Cagnotto took the lead in semifinal "A" with 317.05 points.

The final started with a great disappointment for the two-time European champion Nadezda Bazhina (RUS). The diver performed a Forward 3 1/2 Somersault, Tuck, and spoiled the entry into the water. This was an unusual mistake considering that entries from forward dives are among the easiest to perform. As a result, the Russian got marks ranging from 2.0 to 3.0, scoring a poor 22.40 points.

Jennifer Abel (CAN) placed second after the semifinals but did not manage to keep her rank in the final stage. During the first three dives, she was behind Tania Cagnotto, who displayed a high level of precision in the execution of her dives. Abel stayed quite close but in the fourth round, she missed her entry after a Back 2 1/2 Somersault, Pike. This mistake increased the margin between the Canadian and the Italian diver by 35.85 points.In the end, on the highest podium stood He Zi (CHN), clearly unbeatable and demonstrating a more masculine than feminine diving style, followed by Tania Cagnotto (ITA) and Jennifer Abel (CAN).

Without surprise, the Chinese duo Qin Kai/Luo Yutong finished first. The two were fantastically impressive: seen from the side, it looked like there was just one diver and his shadow. Beside, all the components of the dive were ideally synchronised – height, rotation and speed. German partners Patrick Hausding/Stephan Feck managed to move from third to second position in the last round, leaving the bronze for Ukraine's Ilya Kvasha/Olexey Prygorov.

Even though Dmitry Sautin and Yury Kunakov finished fourth in the final, this duo was undoubtedly the most remarkable of all. After winning the bronze at the European Championships last year in Budapest (HUN), Sautin revealed that he was not going to dive again. Russia's diving icon had already announced previous retirements in 2000 after the Sydney Olympic Games, 2004, 2008 and lastly in 2010. But after a long break in 2010, the 37-year-old decided to give it another go for one more year. Because of Sautin’s age the duo was not able to perform dives of the highest degree of difficulty and instead focused on quality. The final's only perfect 10 was reserved for Sautin after their first dive (Back Dive, Pike).

It was an expected victory for Chen Ruolin/Wang Hao (CHN), who finished 38.55 points ahead of silver-medallists Meaghan Benfeito/Roseline Filion (CAN), who finished almost 20 points ahead of bronze-medallists Alexandra Croak/Melissa Wu (AUS). The Canadians included a Back 3 1/2 Somersault, Tuck in their programme, a dive that no other female team performed, for it is such a complicated combination. Just out of medal range, Russians Yulia Koltunova/Daria Govor tied for the fourth place together with Pandelela Rinong/Mun Yee Leong (MAS), scoring 304.98 points.

The awaited final did not disappoint. China's Qui Bo totalled a record 607.70 points for his performance. Four of his six dives were so highly evaluated that the total points after each round exceeded 100. Bo got an incredible 18 perfect 10s (plus two in the semi-final). The Chinese great could have easily stopped the competition after the fifth round and still get the first place!

Sascha Klein (GER) improved his second position greatly after his fifth dive – Reverse 3 1/2 Somersault, Tuck. This combination was appreciated with marks from 9.5 to 10 and his total was 18.15 points better than Victor Minibaev (RUS), who performed the same dive.

Mexico's Rommel Pacheco made a mistake in his arm stand dive and that was the reason why he ended at the podium's door. His other dives were really remarkable – with good height, ideal lines in the air, brilliant and very “classical” style of moves. The Mexican rising talent succeeded in getting four 10s.

Last but not least, Great Britain's diving star Tom Daley delivered very complicated and new dives but as it often happens  when presenting dives for the first time – some of them are not perfectly clean. With two serious mistakes in his executions, the World champion took an unfortunate fifth place.