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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Aquatic Festival has started in Shanghai!

Shanghai 2011

Opening Ceremony - credit: Giorgio ScalaThe 14th FINA World Championships have officially started after an impressive Opening Ceremony, attended by the entire FINA Family, the IOC President Mr. Jacques Rogge and the Chinese dignitaries, namely Mr. Yu Zhengsheng, Secretary of the Shanghai Municipal Committee of the Comunist Party of China. After the raise of China’s flag, and the ones from Italy and Spain, respectively the organisers of the 2009 and 2013 editions, the vibrant show continued with an ode to water, light and music.

Thanks to hundreds of participants, it was paid tribute to the common element to all FINA disciplines, the water. Spectacular choreographies on the pool deck and in the pool portrayed the spirit of water in Chinese philosophy and its values of harmony and purity. In a Tribute to Heroes, some FINA stars were called to the stage of this Ceremony to symbolise the FINA sports: open water swimmer Ky Hurst (AUS), synchronised swimmer Natalia Ischenko (RUS), water polo player Tony Azevedo (USA), open water swimmer Valerio Cleri (ITA), diver Chen Ruolin (CHN), and swimmer Liu Zige (CHN).

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China gets first gold, Canada and Australia qualify for the Olympics

Shanghai 2011 - Diving

The first diving final of the FINA World Championships Shanghai 2011 started almost three hours before the official opening ceremony and it was a real champions’ fight. Besides the result, this event had a “special” meaning for all participants: the three best synchro teams could qualify for the Olympics and every country dreamed about a place on the podium.

Speaking about synchronised diving we usually mean that there is just two vacant places on the podium – the champion’s one is occupied in principle by China.

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