China easily wins first men’s final
Men’s 10 m platform – the most exciting event of the diving programme. That is why the individual final in this event used to conclude the major competitions. As for synchronised diving it has its own “secret”: there are just four free dives to perform, not six. So it is possible to include a more demanding combination into the programme and it makes the competition tighter and unpredictable.
But this is theory. The real thing is that China won the two last World Championships in this event and on both occasions the winner was more than 20 points ahead of the other teams.
China had a kind of new team in Shanghai: Qiu Bo and Huo Liang never dived together at such important level. Huo Liang got two gold medals (Melbourne 2007 and Rome 2009) with Lin Yue, while Qiu Bo captured silver in the individual platform in Italy, two years ago.
The Chinese duet took an easy lead in the preliminaries with 477.96 (30.75 ahead of David Boudia/Nick McCrory, USA).
Since the last FINA World Championships, men’s diving became more complicated. The degree of difficulty (DD) of 4.5 Forward (109C) was increased to 3.7 and many divers immediately included this combination into the free programme.
Sometimes the search for extreme difficulty is not fruitful. The example came from the side of the Mexican team: German Sanchez and Ivan Garcia had the highest accumulated DD but finished 7th.
Six duos out of the 12 finalists tried to perform the 109C and in five cases the risk paid off: the score for this dive was over 80 points (Russia’s Ilya Zakharov/Victor Minibaev were the best, with 93.24). At the same time, 109C became a big disappointment for Peter Waterfield/Thomas Daley (GBR). They got only 71.04 for this dive.
The Russian team had really great chances to finish in the “Olympic zone” – the first three teams here in Shanghai are qualified for the 2012 Games in London (GBR). After the fourth round they moved to the second position, just 15 points behind China. But the last two rounds are normally the psychological test for the divers. Last year, Zakharov and Minibaev didn’t pass it: they were leading at the European Championships in Budapest until the very last dive, but finally came second.
The situation was almost the same in Shanghai. The fifth round brought bad luck to the Russian team. Both divers made a mistake in the 3.5 Reverse Tuck and dropped themselves to the fourth position. In the same round, US team David Boudia/Nick McCrory also missed a 3.5 Back pike and went to the fifth position.
The last dive didn’t change the leaders’ order: Germany got silver, Ukraine finished third.
The distance between gold and silver was over 37 points and China was the only team who got eight perfect marks (10) during this final.