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Diving, Day 2: German duo beats Chinese favourites in men's 10m synchro final
Germany's Sascha Klein and Patrick Hausding pulled off a major coup when they defeated Olympic champions Yuan Cao and Yanquan Zhang to deny China the men's 10m synchro diving title in a thrilling final at the FINA World Championships in Barcelona.
The Chinese pair started like the favourites they were and led after three rounds of the six-dive final, their progress starred with maximum 10 scores - no less than seven from the 11 judges in the second round. But they came badly unstuck in the fourth round and were eventually relieved to salvage bronze behind the German pair and Victor Minibaev and Artem Chesakov of Russia.
Klein and Hausding, newly crowned European champions and silver medallists behind China at the 2011 World Championships in Shanghai, hit the front in the fifth round and held their nerve in the final series to stay ahead of Minibaev and Chesakov and Mexican Olympic silver medallists German Sanchez and Ivan Garcia, with only Cao and Zhang to come.
The Chinese pair outscored the Germans on that last dive - 99.36 to 96.12 - but it was only enough to lift them to the third step of the podium above the Mexicans. Klein and Hausding won by over 15 points with 461.46 points, with Minibaev and Chesakov taking the silver on 445.95 and Cao and Zhang bronze with 445.56. Sanchez and Garcia were just behind on 442.86.
Sanchez and Garcia seized the lead in the fourth round but faltered in the penultimate round, allowing Klein and Hausding and Minibaev and Chesakov to squeeze past at the top of the rankings as the Chinese pair squandered the chance to regain the lead with an ill-starred forward 4.5 somersaults.
It turned out not to be a double golden weekend for China after Minxia Wu and Tingmao Shi had won the opening women's 3m synchro springboard the previous day. It was only the third time China had not won the men's 10m synchro title since it was introduced at the 1998 edition of the World Championships and marked the first German victory in the event.
Gold medal winner: Patrick Hausding/Sascha Klein (GER)
Hausding: "It’s an awesome sensation to be world champion! I dreamt all my life of this moment and we finally achieved it! That is something that nobody can take from us."
"Throughout the final, we had very positive feelings and things went well until the final dive. This is a great motivation to continue until the next Olympic Games in 2016 in Rio!"
A surprise? "It wouldn’t be fair to say that it wasn’t a surprise, but we went straight to the competition and we hope this is just the beginning of a great week."
Klein: "It’s great to dive in this pool; it’s a very pleasant place to compete. In the final rounds, many divers did mistakes but we were consistent until the end."
Silver medal winner: Victor Minibaev/Artem Chesakov (RUS)
Minibaev: "I was particularly nervous before the competition because I have been fourth three times, including twice at World Championships and once at Olympic Games. Moreover, I am now competing with a new partner and it is always difficult to predict the final outcome."
"We are very different technically, so we lost 15 points in the first two dives, which are the ones you can’t fail [the first two dives have an imposed 2.0 DD limit]. At the end, we are obviously happy with our medal, the first one we get at a World Championships."
Bronze medal winner: Yuan Cao/Yanquan Zhang (CHN)
Cao: "What matters more is that we came to Barcelona very well prepared, both from a physical and a technical point of view. We did our best and were ready for this competition."