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DWS 2013, Dubai day 2: China loses gold in the men's 3m springboard

Diving World Series

Dubai, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES China suffered a rare defeat tonight in the finals of the men’s 3m springboard, with Illya Kvasha of Ukraine taking the gold, and Javier Garcia Illana the silver in an upset defeat of reigning world champion He Chong.

Chong predictably took the lead with his first dive, but uncharacteristically faltered on his second to drop to third. Kvasha top scored for the competition on his second dive with 96.90, stamping his authority on the event and never letting go. A solid 91.00 for his third dive put He Chong back into second and by the fourth round he was only 6.80 points behind Kvasha, but the Ukrainian had a superb night, keeping his nerves under control and putting together a consistent performance to retain the lead and cause the upset of the competition, finishing with 493.40.

Kvasha, clearly delighted with his performance, said later: “Each dive wasn’t perfect tonight, but they were good and Chong made more mistakes than me. We should remember the Chinese are human not machines and they can be beaten. I didn’t think about beating him, just about making each dive and it worked”.

Illya Kvasha (UKR) in action

Chong struggled to display the level of perfection usually associated with Chinese divers and after finishing the fifth round in second dropped to third on his last dive, finishing with 466.35, just 1.85 points behind Javier Illana Garcia of Spain. Chong said: “I haven’t been working on my single diving enough, I have spent a lot of time on synchro and I need to work more on individual dives and have competition practice”.

Illana Garcia was elated with his medal, saying: “This is my first medal and my first silver in my international career, I always make finals but never win medals so this is great. I aimed for consistency tonight, and it worked”. This medal is going to my family, they always support me,” he added.

After qualifying just behind He Chong in this morning’s semi final Patrick Hausding of Germany was expected to perform well but also suffered with inconsistency, finishing in fourth with 449.10. Troy Dumais of the USA also looked threatening early on but also slipped back to fifth with 427.95, ahead of Christopher Mears (GBR) who finished with 423.30.

Earlier in the evening the script for the Chinese team ran to plan with 2012 Olympic Silver medallist He Zi taking out the women’s 3m springboard final in commanding fashion.

He Zi was a picture of the customary Chinese perfection on every dive, scoring in the 70s on each dive except for her fourth where she top scored for the competition with 83.70, giving her a total of 391.20.  Jennifer Abel of Canada started well, but faltered slightly on her third dive to drop back to 5th. She had a medal firmly in her sights though and put together two more solid dives to take silver by 4.8 with 309.30 ahead of Olena Fedorova of Ukraine who finished with 304.50.

Women's 3m podium: Abel (CAN, 2nd), He (CHN, 1st) and Fedorova (UKR, 3rd)

Abel was thrilled to take silver to go with the bronze she won yesterday in the 3m synchro event, and was particularly pleased with her fourth dive which put her back in contention for a medal.

After not medalling in Dubai in 2012 Abel said: “Last year was an Olympic year and the pressure was on to pre-qualify and I got nervous. This year I’m much more relaxed, I’ve changed some of my techniques and I’m doing better”.

Fedorova was in second position until a 58.50 on her final dive cost her the silver. After just missing a medal in the synchro last night by only .9, Fedorova said the difference for her tonight was: “I was angry, so I concentrated more. But this means more to me because it is an individual medal.” Laura Sanchez of Mexico started well sitting in second place in rounds two and three but missed the bronze by 2.70 points.

Hannah Starling of Great Britain was appearing in her first World Series final and by the third round had climbed to third but could not hang on and finished fifth with 282.45, ahead of Jaele Patrick of Australia, who finished with 280.95.

After a thrilling night of exciting competition the large crowd was also treated to a visit by football legend Maradona who presented the medals for the men’s final.

Football legend Maradona joined the men's 3m medallists