DWS 2013, Edinburgh day 1: China takes three golds, Russia shines in men's 10m synchro
Edinburgh, GREAT BRITAIN - Claiming three wins out of four in synchro events, Team China set the tone on day 1 of the British leg of the FINA/Midea Diving World Series 2013, taking place at the Royal Commonwealth Pool in Edinburgh from April 19-21. Russia's Artem Chesakov/Victor Minibaev won the men's 10m platform synchro.
Taking a decisive lead after the fourth round, new Chinese pair Huixia Liu/Yajie Si took out the women's 10m platform synchro final with a total score of 338.64, extending their country's unbeaten streak in this event to 20 victories throughout five World Series editions.
Pandelela Rinong Pamg/Mun Yee Leong from Malaysia performed brilliantly to pick up silver with an overall 322.20 points. The pair, who has been training together since 2009 and finished fifth in Beijing and fourth in Dubai this season, commented on their improvement: "We're very happy with our performance, we feel better here."
Huixia Liu and Yajie Si (CHN) performing in the women's 10m platform synchro - credit: Still Sports
The consistency of Yulia Koltunova/Natalia Goncharova was evident once again as the Russians scored their third bronze this season, earning a total 308.22 points.
Despite a good start, local favourites Tonia Couch/Sarah Barrow finished just out of medal range, in fourth. Post-event, Couch said: "It's great to compete here and in front of the home crowd."
"It's the best athletes competing against each other and going into Barcelona, you know who you are up against so I think it's a really good preparation," she added.
Seven pairs took part in the women's 10m platform synchro competition, representing Australia, Canada, China, Great Britain, Malaysia, Mexico and Russia.
After collecting two silver medals in Beijing and Dubai, the Russian pair Victor Minibaev/Artem Chesakov finished on top of the men's 10m platform synchro, amassing a total 415.50 points. "That is our first gold together so we are pleased," Minibaev said.
Placing third after the second round, the Russians steadily made their way to the top by the fifth round. Their finest dive in the last round was a Back 2.5 Somersaults 2.5 Twists, Piked (3.6 DD), for which they received 86.40 points.
"We did some very good dives today, we've been training together for three months and it's going well so far," he added.
The men's podium in the 10m platform synchro - credit: Still Sports
Cuba's Jose Guerra/Jeinkler Aguirre took second behind the Russians with 399.63 points. On their performance, Guerra said: "We did a couple of good dives today but I think we could have done better."
"I enjoy the Diving World Series more now that I'm competing in one event. It's fun to be together with the best divers in the world," Guerra continued.
Olympic silver medallists Ivan Garcia/German Sanchez from Mexico captured the bronze, recording 388.11 points.
On their result, Sanchez said: "We started well but we need to work more. The competition level in the 10m synchro is really high and like everybody, we want to be on the podium." He also admitted: "I am coming back from a shoulder injury and it's my first competition since so it's a good result."
China's Minxia Wu/Tingmao Shi took the early lead and had a lock on the top spot in the women's 3m springboard synchro final, comfortably winning with a total 332.10 points.
Women's 3m springboard synchro podium - credit: Still Sports
British pair Alicia Blagg/Rebecca Gallantree appeared entirely focused and confident, keeping the same spot throughout the five rounds. Runner-up with a total 305.28 points, the home favourites repeated their successful silver from Beijing and confirmed their ambition to rise ever-higher in the ranks of the world’s top diving competitors.
"We got a medal last month in Beijing so we knew it was possible," said Gallantree. "It was a consistent performance but we know we can do more. We can both dive better than we did today," she added.
Malaysia's Jun Hoong Cheong/Yan Yee Ng secured the bronze, their best result so far in the Series, with a total score of 283.80. "Our performance was OK tonight, we can still improve our dives. We felt nervous before the competition. We're happy with the medals won for our country so far in Edinburgh," Cheong said.
"We take advantage of the Diving World Series to gain experience for the World Championships in Barcelona," she added.
Ukrainians Olena Fedorova/Anna Pysmenska were third entering the fourth round but dropped to sixth after missing their dive, a Reverse 2.5 Somersault, Piked.
The only team to receive near-perfect marks of 9.5 for the required dives, China's Kai Qin/Chong He - Qin is Olympic champion with Yutong Luo in the event - had a clear win in the men's 3m springboard synchro, amassing a total 433.65.
"We feel OK about our performance, we still need to make some adjustments, we need to train more," He said on their result.
Illya Kvasha/Oleksiy Prygorov from Ukraine, the 2012 overall winners in the event, picked up another silver medal, after the one garnered in Dubai, totalling 420.27 points.
On their diving programme, which was the same as the Chinese (with a similar degree of difficulty), Prygorov said: "We feel 'so-so' about our performance tonight, two dives were not perfect. The Chinese were not perfect either, we want to keep raising the level with the other competitors."
A thrilling battle for the minor medal played out between the British and American pairs. In the last round, Christopher Mears/Nicholas Robinson-Baker (GBR) edged out Troy Dumais/Dwight Dumais (USA) by only 0.45 points, celebrating their first podium in this year's Series.
Post-event, Robinson-Baker said: "It was close. We were biting our nails at the end because we knew USA were within half a point of us and we didn’t know what was going to happen. But we came out on top today which is brilliant and it was in front of a home crowd so it couldn’t have happened at a better World Series leg."
Six pairs took part in the competition, representing China, Great Britain, Malaysia, Mexico (withdrew in third round), Ukraine and USA.