Diving, Day 3: Fourth world 10m synchro gold for Chen
Olympic champion Ruolin Chen swooped to her fourth successive world 10m synchro gold medal when she partnered Huixia Liu to victory to bring China their third diving title in the first three days of the FINA World Championships.Chen, twice double Olympic champion in 10m individual and synchro, was diving at the Worlds with her fourth different partner but the result was the same as it had been at the last three editions of the championships: top spot on the podium by a big margin.
Diving against the stunning backdrop of Gaudi's Sagrada Familia basilica, with the city of Barcelona spread beneath, Chen and Liu flew high in a class of their own, soaring to gold with 356.28 points from their five final dives.Experience counted as Canada's Meaghan Benfeito and Roseline Filion, bronze medallists at the 2005 Worlds and the 2012 Olympics, took the silver(331.41) and Malaysia's Pandelela Rinong Pamg and Mun Yee Leong, world bronze medallists in 2009, bronze again (331.14).
Five perfect 10s from the judges greeted the opening back dive of Chen and Liu and they never looked back, winning by nearly 25 points.The Malaysian pair were second until the Canadians pipped them in the last round, just 0.27 points separating them at the end. Mexico's Paola Espinosa, individual 10m world champion ahead of Chen in 2009, and Alejandra Orozco, Olympic silver medallists in London 2012, fell behind in the first round and were never really in the hunt, finishing sixth behind Australia and Britain.
Only one of the four titles so far contested at the Montjuic Municipal Pool has eluded China - the men's 10m synchro going to Germans Sascha Klein and Patrick Hausding, while Minxia Wu and Tingmao Shi won the women's 3m synchro and Shixin Li the men's 1m springboard which preceded the triumph of Chen and Liu.
Chen, who won her first world 10m individual world title in 2011 following silver medals in 2007 and 2009, has now won five World Championship gold medals. Liu won all six 10m synchro events in this year's World Series, two with Chen. China have won the women's 10m synchro title at the World Championships seven times in succession, only the first in 1998 eluding them.
Gold medal winner: Ruolin Chen/Huixia Liu (CHN)
Liu: "To win my first medal at this level in Barcelona is a great feeling. I also thank the spectators for their support and enthusiasm; the atmosphere is really inspiring."
"Even if I don’t have so much experience, I keep learning a lot with Chen."
Chen: "Our coach often tells us: when you step down from the podium, you start again from zero. The experience is important, but it is not enough to get a medal – you have to continue working hard."
"In 2007, when I got my first gold in this event with Tong Jia, we were a very new duet. Today, pairing with Liu is an entire new experience: she is very young, but at the same time very strong and quite adaptable."
Silver medal winner: Meaghan Benfeito/Roseline Filion (CAN)
Filion: "Our long experience is really the key for success. We are diving together for eight years now – I don’t think there is another duet in the field in this situation! We know each other inside and out, we are really good friends, almost like sisters."
"We have started slowly in the morning, but during the final we were stronger. We kept a good level, with good dives and a great synchronisation."
Bronze medal winner: Pandelela Rinong/Mun Yee Leong (MAS)
Leong: "We train and compete together for four years, we know each other very well and this is definitively important in terms of consistency throughout the major events."
Rinong: "We performed quite well today, and all medallists must be congratulated!"
"Our successes since 2009 were very important for this discipline in Malaysia. Diving is now getting a lot of exposure and promotion. It’s still not as popular as swimming because many people are afraid of height, but there are definitively many more children wanting to practice diving around the country."
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