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DWS 2014, Dubai day 3: Minibaev (RUS) breaks Chinese hegemony

Diving World Series

The third leg of the FINA/NVC Diving World Series successfully concluded in Dubai (UAE) on March 22, with the last two finals in the programme, the men’s and women’s 10m platform. In theory, two expectable gold medals for China. But things sometimes are not meant to be as the predictions on paper. However, at the end of the three-day competition at the impressive Hamdan Sports Complex, China (six gold out of eight finals) confirmed its supremacy in the world diving hierarchy.

In the most exciting final (men’s 10m platform) of the competition in Dubai, everything seemed to run in the right direction for Qiu Bo (CHN) until he badly missed his fifth attempt, a 109C (DD 3.7). Qiu was perhaps overwhelmed by his precedent dive, when all the seven judges gave him a perfect 10! Victor Minibaev (RUS), his most direct rival, took advantage of the situation and conquered the gold in 537.05, against Qiu’s 530.90.

Minibaev is the first diver in this event to beat Chinese competition. Tom Daley (GBR) won the event twice, but without Chinese participation. Moreover, the Russian diver became the fifth male diver from outside China to win an individual World Series event. The other four are Yahel Castillo (MEX, 3), Illya Kvasha (UKR, 2), Tom Daley (GBR, 2) and Alexandre Despatie (CAN, 1). Chinese divers have combined for 100 individual victories. Before this final, Qiu had won 11 consecutive World Series events in 10m platform that he had entered until he finished second to Cao Yuan (CHN) in Beijing last week.

Tom Daley (GBR) - credit: Mounir Saidi

The interesting fight for the bronze medal ended up in favour of David Boudia (USA), the 2012 Olympic champion in this event. Tom Daley, third at the London Games, and also bronze medallist in the inaugural meet of the series in Beijing, ranked fourth. Daley had finished on the podium in his last seven World Series in this event, while Boudia had made six World Series podiums in 10m platform – three second places and three third places.

Among women, the 10m platform final did not offer so much emotion, with the predictable win of Liu Huixia (CHN). China has now won the last eight World Series 10m Platform events since the start of 2013, courtesy of three different divers: Si Yajia (3), Chen Ruolin (2) and Liu Huixia (3). Liu had only competed three times in the 10m platform at the World Series prior to Dubai, winning twice and coming second once.

Pandelela Rinong Pamg, from Malaysia, finished second, obtaining her 14th World Series podium in all events (but no victories). Her previous five individual 10m platform podiums included a second place in Beijing last week. The bronze medal went to Canada’s Roseline Filion, who had also finished third (with Meaghan Benfeito) in the 10m platform synchro event.

Victor Minibaev (RUS) - credit: Mounir Saidi