Gold and silver for China; 2009 champion Espinosa (MEX) in third

Shanghai 2011 - Diving

Chen Ruolin (CHN) - Credit: Giorgio ScalaChen Ruolin came to Shanghai as a strong favourite. The two-time Olympic Games winner also had gold medals in Rome 2009 and Melbourne 2007 in synchronised diving. Moreover, she was first in individual platform at the 2006, 2008 and 2010 World Cup. Finally, she accumulated 11 victories at Grand Prix events. An enormous roll of honour for such a tiny athlete – just 1.36m for a mere 30kg weight!

The advantage of her compatriot Hu Yadan was clear during the preliminary competition. The 15-year-old newcomer got the best result with a 11-point advantage over Chen Ruolin. Then, Hu also won the semi-final and the advantage increased to 17.70. The semi-final score of the young Chinese was remarkable: Hu Yadan got six “tens” for her last dive (96.00 in total) and 403.65, in general.

After these two series of five free dives each, it was clear that the other divers could fight just for the third place. The difference between China and “the rest of the world” was too big to make the competition really exciting.

The most dramatic moment happened in the fourth round: Hu Yadan was comfortably leading – 9.1 ahead of her compatriot, bud did a terrible mistake in her 3.5 Back tuck combination. This dropped her to the third position (30.50 behind Chen Ruolin) and the distance was too big for revenge.
Hu Yadan surprised the audience one more time however: for her last dive she got 96.00 – as it happened in semi-final, showed an outstanding ability to fight until the last second of the competition.

Chen Ruolin (CHN) - Credit: Giorgio Scala
Chen Ruolin (CHN) - Credit: Giorgio Scala

Paola Espinosa (the only female diver in the world capable of executing a 3.5 Reverse Tuck) was luckier than Meaghan Benfeito (CAN) and Pandelela Rinong (MAS). Both athletes had a chance to dream with the podium but did more mistakes than the 2009 world champion.

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