Diving, Day 8: He wins second Barcelona gold
Zi He claimed her second gold medal of the FINA World Championships when she added the 3m springboard title to the 1m crown she won four days earlier. He emerged triumphantly from the shadows of her illustrious predecessors Jingjing Guo and Minxia Wu and swooped to China's eighth Barcelona diving title out of nine so far contested, with one final still to come. It was China's seventh successive win in the event, following Guo's unique set of five and the 2011 victory of Wu, who did not defend her individual title in Barcelona but won a 3m synchro gold medal for the sixth time.
He, world and Olympic 3m silver medallist behind Wu in 2011 and 2012, amassed 383.40 points from her five final dives for a clearcut victory ahead of Chinese team-mate Han Wang (356.25) and Canada's Pamela Ware (350.25). Wang, who already had a 1m silver and two 1m bronzes in her world championship medal collection, claimed her first medal on the 3m board in China's fifth one-two in the event.
He, who had led through the preliminary and semi-final rounds, grabbed the lead with her opening dive of the final, with 2011 bronze medallist Jennifer Abel of Canada second and Wang third. He recorded the highest score again in the second round, moving 21 points clear of Wang, now second, with Ware third. Italy's Maria Marconi moved into second place between He and Wang in the third round but fluffed her dive in the fourth and dropped out of the picture as He moved 30 points ahead of nearest challenger Wang, with Ware third again. Italy's Tania Cagnotto, who was denied the 1m gold by He by a tantalising 0.10 points earlier in the week, had a disappointing start in the 3m but finished strongly to end fourth, within five points of Ware, leaving her with her silver medals in the 3m synchro and 1m springboard in Barcelona. Mexico's Paola Espinosa, 2009 world 10m champion and 2011 bronze medallist, finished 10th on the springboard.
Gold Medal: Zi He (CHN)
“I am of course happy with the gold – the first on an individual 3m event -, but not so much with my performance. I could have done better”.
A new era after Jingjing Guo and Minxia Wu? “You can only speak of ‘era’ when an athlete performs well for a long time. It’s still very early to say that about me. My goal is to always give my best and to perform well”.
On her plans for the 2016 Olympics: “I have the sensation that the Olympics are just over, and now you ask me about the next ones… It’s very early to say something on that, let’s take each competition as it comes”.
“Barcelona is a very nice place and this pool is amazing. The photos with the Sagrada Familia are surely a must. Watching so many times this monument on the TV and pictures, I want to visit it!”
Silver Medal: Han Wang (CHN)
“Something was lacking in my performance tonight, but it was my first major competition in 3m and I am satisfied. Moreover, it’s an Olympic event, so my result it’s very encouraging for the future”.
“There is no secret in our success: just hard work! Diving remains an unpredictable sport, and many other countries can achieve good results”.
On trying High Diving: “In fact, I am quite afraid of height, even from the 10m… But I will definitively watch High Diving on the TV!”
Bronze Medal: Pamela Ware (CAN)
“It’s my first World Championships and I go home with two medals! I am very happy! Moreover, I did today a personal best, so I am quite satisfied with my performance”.
On the positive influence of Jennifer Abel: “I train with Jennifer for about 10 years, and we go along very well. We are competing in synchro since January this year and I am learning a lot with her. Her experience and support is helping me a lot in my individual dives”:
On High Diving: “My flight leaves on Monday morning, but I admire them a lot. I confess I could never dive from so high!”
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