Netherlands, Australia, Russia and China qualify for quarter-finals

Shanghai 2011 - Water Polo

Olympic champion Netherlands heads a list of four teams who survived the second round of the women’s water polo competition at the Natatorium on Saturday.

The Dutch defeated New Zealand 14-8, while Australia held off a late-charging Hungary 10-9 after leading by four goals seven minutes from time. Aussie Stinger Rowie WEBSTER netted four goals to take her tournament tally to 11.

Russia had little trouble getting past Cuba, winning 26-4 and China pleased the huge crowd in the late game with a 15-6 destruction of Spain, built on a 7-2 opening quarter. MA Huanhuan became the tournament’s highest scorer with 14 goals thanks to a five-goal effort tonight.

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China: one step to go for the absolute record

Shanghai 2011 - Diving

Wu Minxia got the ninth gold medal for China and first for herself. It may sound strange but the four-time World Champion in synchronised diving never had a chance to won her individual medal. Every time since 2001 it was Guo Jingjing who captured gold so all that Wu Minxia gained individually for this period of time was one bronze and two silver medals.

Sometimes, it seems that diving as a sport has its own justice. In 1976, in Montreal, many people thought that Greg Louganis should be awarded with gold medal at 10m platform – but the victory was given to great Italian Claus Dibiasi. The 1976 Games were his last international competition and judges were perhaps more indulgent to the veteran than to the 16-year-old teenager.

The same kind of drama happened in Seoul. Louganis was about to finish his great career, after two Olympic gold in Los Angeles, one more in Seoul at 3m and was fighting for the fourth on the platform. A lot of people were sure that the gold medal should be given to Xiong Ni. But it went to Louganis. And this looked as a compensation for Montreal.

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Petar Stoychev (BUL): first gold for last world appearance

Shanghai 2011 - Open Water Swimming

Petar Stoychev - credit: Giorgio ScalaPetar Stoychev, the accomplished Bulgarian open water swimmer won his first FINA title in the 25km event at Jinsan Beach in Shanghai on the same day that he announced his retirement from future FINA world championship competition. Three time world champion Vladimir Dyatchin of Russia finished 35.8 seconds behind Stoychev to earn the silver medal. Csaba Gercsak of Hungary swimming his first ever 25km race collected the bronze medal, his first medal in a FINA competition.

Stoychev, 35, competed in the 10km event earlier in the week hoping for a top 10 finish and an opportunity to qualify for the 2012 London Olympic Games. His 27th place finish in the 10km, 1:14.8 seconds behind the winner was a great personal disappointment. It likely factored heavily in his decision to say that he won't compete in the 2013 FINA worlds in Barcelona. His disappointment in the 10km result may also served as his motivation to secure a world championship title in what he says is his final FINA competition.  

Stoychev was the flag bearer for the Bulgarian Olympic team at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. He placed sixth in the Olympic 10km Marathon, 17.5 seconds behind gold medallist David Davies of Great Britain. Stoychev also swam in the 1500m freestyle in Beijing and ranked 30th after the preliminary heats.

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Like two peas in a pod

Shanghai 2011 - Synchronised Swimming

Russian duo - credit: Giorgio ScalaDuet synchro swimmers are like two peas in a pod. Why? Because after spending months and years training and competing together, they inevitably develop some sort of special connection. They share the ups and downs of this demanding sport, celebrate success and overcome deception, like best friends or sisters do. Tonight, such close connection was visible in many of the duets free routine, but also out of the pool.

Russian pair Natalia Ishchenko/Svetlana Romashina, who already swam the Duet free together in Rome, repeated as World champions, amassing a total score of 98.410 while identical twins Tingting and Wenwen Jiang from China overtook Spanish rivals Andrea Fuentes and Ona Carbonell by 0.310 point for an overall 96.810.   

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Croatia, Italy, Hungary and Serbia advance to water polo quarter-finals

Shanghai 2011 - Water Polo

credit: Russell McKinnonCroatia, Italy, Hungary and Serbia won their groups and advanced to the quarter-finals of the men’s water polo competition on the last day of preliminary-round games at the Natatorium today.

Hungary edged out Spain 12-11 to win Group A in a near packed house in a game where Spain held sway in the first half but Hungary took control just before halftime and never relinquished the lead. Montenegro clinched second with a 16-5 success over Kazakhstan.

In Group B, defending champion Serbia beat previously unbeaten Australia 12-9 while in the last game of the night, Romania defeated China 14-10 after the Chinese led 6-5 at halftime.

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