London 2012, Day 4: Cao Yuan/Zhang Yanquan retain title in 10m synchro
The final of the men's 10m platform synchro on the fourth day of the 18th FINA Visa Diving World Cup in London (GBR) was another Chinese victory, as duo Cao Yuan/Zhang Yanquan maintained the golden standard with a crushing score of 481.29. Mexico's Ivan Alejandro Garcia/German Sanchez produced a remarkable performance for an overall 460.17 points which earned them the second place. Olympic and World silver medallists Patrick Hausding/Sascha Klein (GER) claimed third spot with 457.41 points. It is the first podium appearance for both Mexico and Germany in this World Cup edition. Local sensation Thomas Daley pairing with Peter Waterfield took seventh, behind David Boudia/Nick McCrory (USA), Jenkler Aguirre/Jose Guerra (CUB) and Illya Zakharov/Victor Minibaev (RUS).
As a result, Mexico, USA, Cuba and Russia secured their qualification in the event for the 2012 London Olympic Games. China, Germany, Ukraine and Great Britain already got their Olympic ticket at the last FINA World Championships in Shanghai (CHN).
Chinese duo Cao Yuan/Zhang Yanquan were the uncontested dominators of the event, already topping the preliminary session with the highest score. They nevertheless faced pressure from runner-up pair Illya Zakharov/Victor Minibaev (RUS), 13.83 points behind and with a complicated programme in stock.
But it was the Mexican team that set the highest degree of difficulty in this event. Ivan Alejandro Garcia/German Sanchez had included two super-strong combinations to the free part of their programme: a 4.5 Forward in tucked position and a 2.5 Forward with three twists. No other team took the risk to perform the latter.
Ukrainians Oleksandr Bondar/Oleksandr Gorshkovozov were the first to receive a perfect 10 mark from the judges in the first optional round. But it was not really indicative of their overall performance, since they placed eleventh in the preliminary. Yet the marks set the tone for the other teams.
From the very beginning, the Chinese imposed their lead in the final. After two optional dives, Cao Yuan/Zhang Yanquan had amassed 117.60 points while the second best result (by the Ukrainian team) was of 108.60. In the second round, the Chinese increased their advantage even more by collecting three perfect 10s for technique and two more for synchronisation. As the competition unfolded, it was becoming clear that China would capture the gold. Half-way in the final, Cao Yuan/Zhang Yanquan were almost 15 points ahead.
The evening's biggest reception was reserved for British star Thomas Daley, who was making his first appearance of the week in the event. Despite the cheering home crowd, Daley and partner Peter Waterfield missed their fifth dive (4.5 Forward, Tuck) and eventually took seventh.