DWS 2013, Beijing day 2: Qin (CHN) eclipses Olympic champion Zakharov (RUS) in men's 3m
Beijing, CHINA - With his trade-mark stability, China's men's springboard synchro expert Kai Qin claimed his first individual title, beating Russia's 2012 Olympic champion Illya Zakharov to third place on day 2 of the FINA/Midea Diving World Series at Beijing's Water Cube on March 16, 2013. Illya Kvasha of Ukraine took the lead after the first two rounds but Qin turned the tables from his third dive (307C) with a high 99.75 points and kept his dominance to the last dive, winning the gold in a total 548.65 points.
Chong He, Beijing Olympic champion and bronze medallist at the 2012 London Games in this event, finished second with 521.50 points while Olympic champion Zakharov missed his last dive (109C) to earn a "low" 74.10 points, settling for the bronze with 514.45 points.
"I am happy with the gold. I kept as stable as possible that all my six dives are performed OK, but I still need to work on some details. It is a boost for me. On the other hand, the victory means nothing at all. It's not a big deal to win or lose in such a competitive contest. It's just a game. I don't consider it as a revenge against Zakharov. He is a strong and respected rival as always," Qin said.
Qin won two synchro Olympic titles when he paired with Feng Wang at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and changed to Yutong Luo at the 2012 London Games. On day 1 of the Series, Qin and Chong He captured their first synchro victory together.
Kai Qin (CHN) performs in the men's 3m springboard - credit: Lang Qin
Post-event, Chong He revealed that since he started training with Qin a month ago, he almost forgot how to dive as an individual.
"I have not managed to dive both events for a long, long time. I've focused on synchro events recently and seldom try individual dives. That's why I felt strange to dive on my own today. Maybe I need more time to adjust myself," He said.
Olympic champion Zi He remained unchallenged in the women's 3m springboard, leading by a 60.45 margin and winning with a total 395.65 points. The silver went to Jennifer Abel of Canada, who collected 335.20 points, besting Tania Cagnotto of Italy (330.70 points).
"It is my first international event this year. I am not satisfied with my performance. I should dive better. I still need to improve on my specific dives. Since I don't compete in the synchro with Minxia Wu in this leg, I had more time to concentrate on the individual event. But at the next stop in Dubai, I will pair up with Han Wang in the synchro," He said.
Six-time Olympic medallist Minxia Wu was absent from the 3m individual event in Beijing due to lack of training.
The 22-year-old Zi He said she felt a bit lonely without Wu. "I'd like to have teammates alongside myself during competition, but if in the future I have to participate on my own, I should get used to it."
Women's 3m springboard podium - credit: Lang Qin