Derek Parr, FINA Media Committee member

Xie Siyi restored China to the top of the diving podium after a series of reverses in Budapest’s Duna Arena, stretching away from his rivals to win the men’s 3m springboard crown on Day 7 to make it six titles out of 10 on the boards for his nation at the 17th FINA World Championships.

Xie, the 1m gold medallist at the 2015 Worlds in Kazan, seized the lead from Olympic champion Cao Yuan in the fourth round and never looked back as several of his leading rivals, most notably Cao himself, succumbed to error and dropped down the order.

XIE (CHN) - Gold Medal

Xie and Cao had suffered a painful defeat in the 3m synchro final when they were beaten to gold by Russians Evgeny Kuznetsov and Ilia Zakharov on Day 2 but Xie ensured a measure of revenge in the individual event which China have now won at the Worlds for the sixth time in a row.

Olympic bronze medallist Patrick Hausding, already a bronze medallist in Budapest in the 10m synchro, held his nerve while others faltered and claimed the silver for Germany, while 2012 Olympic champion Zakharov won a tight battle for bronze, edging out Mexico’s Rommel Pacheco and 2016 Olympic silver medallist Jack Laugher of Great Britain.

All was going fine for Cao, a comfortable leader in the previous day’s semi-final from Laugher, and holding a slight advantage over the charging Xie at the halfway point of the six-dive final.

But then it all went wrong as his dives in the fourth and fifth round went awry and he plunged to 10th in the order, unable to finish any higher by the end, when he was 93.40 points adrift of Xie.

Zakharov (RUS) - Bronze medal

Xie had picked up a 10 mark for his third round back 3-1/2 somersaults for a score of 97.20 and went from strength to strength with scores of 90-plus for each of his last three dives.

Laugher, Olympic 3m synchro gold medallist, fell off the leading pace in the third round and dropped from third in the penultimate round to fifth, 46.45 points behind Xie. Pacheco, Budapest silver medallist in the team event, achieved the evening’s highest mark of 100.70 for his concluding forward 4-1/2 somersaults and finished fourth.

Hausding, drawing on his years of experience stayed solid throughout. The 28-year-old German, who won world gold in 2013 in the 10m synchro, moved up from third to second in the fifth round and finished more than 20 points ahead of bronze medallist Zakharov, albeit also more than 20 points behind the victorious Xie.

Zakharov had suffered a desperately disappointing Olympics in Rio in a doomed defence of the 3m title he won in style at the 2012 London Games but he has returned with a vengeance this year, winning the European 3m crown and now adding the world 3m individual bronze to the 3m synchro gold.

Xie, who had led the way in the previous day’s preliminary round ahead of Zakharov, claimed gold with a six-dive aggregate of 547.10, with Hausding second on 526.15 and Zakharov third on 505.90.

Hausding (GER) - Silver Medal

Women’s 3m prelims/semis

Shi Tingmao pointed China towards more gold by leading the way through the preliminary round and the semi-final of the women’s 3m in her bid to retain the title she won in 2015.

Shi, the reigning Olympic champion, vastly outscored her rivals in the semi-final, amassing almost 36 points more than second-placed team-mate Wang Han, the 2013 silver medallist, as she lined herself up for a second Budapest gold after winning the women’s 3m synchro with Chang Yani.

Canada’s Jennifer Abel and Pamela Ware, respectively world 3m bronze medallists in 2011 and 2013, looked like providing the most realistic opposition. Abel, a silver medallist in the 3m synchro, figured third behind the two Chinese in the preliminary round and Ware achieved the same result in the semi-final.

However, there was only disappointment for newly-crowned European champion Elena Bertocchi, who failed to make the semi-final. The Italian, who had claimed bronze in the 1m final on Day 2, could never get back on terms after her opening back 2-1/2 somersaults went awry and she finished 20th, 90.95 points adrift of Shi and 3.75 behind the 18th and last semi-final qualifier.

QUOTES

Men's 3m springboard

Xie Siyi (CHN), gold
 

"I am really happy, I have not worked up this feeling yet. I have not paid attention to the exact position I had during the final, I just tried to focus on the dives and kept working hard from the first moment till the last dive. I was not not really satisfied with my execution during the semi-finals, but I can be proud of my performance in the final”.

 
Patrick Hausding (GER), silver
 

"It is incredible! I have not realised it yet, this medal is very special after the last season in which I was not that successful. I was really down and to come back like this is a fairy tale. Five events, two medals, three top five positions, it is much more than I expected. I had a good start in 1m, and I knew I could perform well during the championships and cherry on top, win a silver medal in the 3m individual was not my plan at all. I would have been glad with the top six, but second place is amazing. Budapest is my city, all my dreams have come true here. I will have a longer rest now, I am quite exhausted after these crowded days”.

 
Illia Zakharov (RUS), bronze
 

“I knew that my last dive is the most important, that was the only thing I focused on, because  I wanted to get 100 points. Even though I couldn't make it, I am quite happy. My favourite medal is still my Olympic gold, but this is my first bronze, so I am glad that I have the whole collection now. The atmosphere is fantastic among the team and I have to thank this success to my coaches also, I get full support from them”.