Hungary shakes off dominant Montenegro

Shanghai 2011 - Water Polo

altIt’s not often that Hungary finds itself in a two-goal-down situation twice in a match but it did not seem to phase the team that has won the past three Olympic titles.

Hungary, however, needed a 4-1 final quarter to turn the tables on Montenegro in Group A action in what was an exhilarating start to the men’s water polo competition at the Natatorium.

Super coach Denes KEMENY urged his players on but the writing was on the wall and Montenegro looked good to win the match at the final break.

Hungary poured on the power and the goals with three from extra-man advantage to go 11-9 ahead inside two minutes, giving up a Montenegro goal at 1:26 and hold on for victory.

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Golden double for China

Shanghai 2011 - Diving

credit: Giorgio ScalaThe 1m springboard competition exists in the FINA World Championships programme since 1991. It happened four times that divers from the same country got gold and silver in this event. And this country was always the same – China.

Curiously, the 1m springboard is an event where non-Chinese divers have better chances to fight for victory. Sometimes it looks like Chinese sport leaders don't pay much attention to this non-Olympic discipline. In Shanghai, for instance, the host country was represented neither with the reigning world champion in the men’s 1m event Qin Kai, nor with the 2007 world champion Luo Yutong : these two divers are preparing their participation in the 3m event. Therefore, the top places in the lowest board went to newcomers – Li Shixin and He Min.

The preliminary round was won by the Chinese with a comfortable advantage of 30 and 25 points over Javier Illana (ESP) but for them that wasn't a clean performance. Li Shixin made a serious mistake performing his 2.5 Reverse Pike (305B) and got just 48 points for the dive, while He Min missed the entry in 2.5 Back Tuck (205C), and only scored 43.50.

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Ishchenko retains title in Solo tech, Huang home hero with silver

Shanghai 2011 - Synchronised Swimming

altFor the third straight world meet, Russia’s synchronised swimming icon Natalia Ishchenko clinched the title in the Solo technical routine on the first day of the 14th FINA World Championships synchro competition at Shanghai’s new sporting venue, the superb Oriental Sports Centre Indoor Stadium.

If the first place was virtually already reserved for the Russian world champion, the remaining podium spots welcomed two new soloists with a first success at this level: home revelation Xuechen Huang came second and Spain’s ever-impressive Andrea Fuentes, third.

The synchronised swimming competition started on a high note, celebrating its 50th final held in the FINA World Championships history. The Solo technical routine, a non-Olympic event, featured 34 countries, during which athletes must perform six required elements in a given sequence in only two minutes. Scores are given for overall impression and execution, with prominence given to the latter.

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China easily wins first men’s final

Shanghai 2011 - Diving

Men’s 10 m platform – the most exciting event of the diving programme. That is why the individual final in this event used to conclude the major competitions. As for synchronised diving it has its own “secret”: there are just four free dives to perform, not six. So it is possible to include a more demanding combination into the programme and it makes the competition tighter and unpredictable.

But this is theory. The real thing is that China won the two last World Championships in this event and on both occasions the winner was more than 20 points ahead of the other teams.

China had a kind of new team in Shanghai: Qiu Bo and Huo Liang never dived together at such important level. Huo Liang got two gold medals (Melbourne 2007 and Rome 2009) with Lin Yue, while Qiu Bo captured silver in the individual platform in Italy, two years ago.

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Olympic champion Netherlands regains some Beijing lustre

Shanghai 2011 - Water Polo

USA vs NED - credit: Russell McKinnonNetherlands could prove the “dark horse” of the women’s water polo competition at the XIV FINA World Championships at the Natatorium.

In the opening game of the championship, the most credentialled women’s teams — holders of all four major titles — battled to a 7-7 draw, making the following games all that more important to decide who shall go through, possibly, as Group A winner.

The game was always close with centre forwards dominating and defensive structures impenetrable at times.

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