China takes it all at home!

Shanghai 2011 - Diving

credit: Giorgio ScalaChinese great Qiu Bo got the last gold on offer in Shanghai in the 10m platform. This medal completes the host federation’s complete sweep in all diving events for an overall, record-breaking tally of 10 gold.

Diving can be cruel and unpredictable. In the 3m springboard, five-time World Champion Qin Kai suffered so much in his last dive, a 4 ½ Forward Tuck (109C), that he finished fourth, despite a brilliant performance in the other five rounds.

In the 10m platform preliminaries, it was two-time World Champion Gleb Galperin from Russia who experienced some difficulty with the same dive. Galperin was worrying mostly about his Armstand Reverse (3.0 DD), a new diving combination that was included to his free programme at the beginning of the year. He got quite high marks for execution and assumed that the most important part of the work was done.

He slipped terribly while taking a run and “opened” after the third somersault. This unfortunate mistake made him lose any chance to reach the semifinal.

The final part of the competition started with the surprise from Zhou Luxin from China, silver-medallist from the 2008 Beijing Olympics in the 10m platform. The diver missed his very first dive, 3 ½ Somersault, Tuck (407C), ending up last of the rankings with 43.20, a score than is not even high enough for optional dives.

The second Chinese diver Qiu Bo started the contest impressively. For his 407C dive, he got 94.40, receiving a perfect 10 from four judges out of seven. In the second round, the leader collected straight 10s, for an overall 105.00 score for the dive. For his third dive, a 3 ½ Reverse Tuck, Bo’s performance earned a straight line of seven perfect scores.

Such result was enough to “kill” the other divers mentally. Before the second half of the competition, the Chinese champion was leading with 24.45 points ahead of Sasha Klein from Germany.

In the men’s platform event, the progress made in the degree of difficulty is evident. Just two years ago, the dives with DD 3.4 – 3.5 seemed to be very complicated. In Shanghai, no less than 33 dives with DD 3.6 and more were performed in the men’s final. Mexico’s Ivan Garcia could be given the title of “DD King” for his outstanding diving inward combination of 4 ½ somersaults. The “price” of this dive is rewarding: 4.1 DD! Unfortunately, difficulty does not always mean quality. Garcia finished seventh.

Podium - credit: Giorgio Scala
Podium - credit: Giorgio Scala

Before the last round, there were only three divers who could pretend to be on the podium behind Qiu Bo: Sasha Klein (GER), Victor Minibaev (RUS) and David Boudia (USA). The American delivered the most accurate execution while the German got exactly the same score for the same dive (2 ½ Back with 2 ½ twists). But that was not enough to beat Boudia and the German had to settle for the bronze.  

2009 World champion in the event Thomas Daley (GBR) did not make the podium. Last year the diver was forced to withdraw from the European Championships in Budapest (HUN) with a triceps injury. In Shanghai, Daley showed quite a difficult and stable programme, finishing fifth overall.