Derek Parr, FINA Media Committee member

Olympic champion Shi Tingmao retained her world 3m springboard crown in style for her second gold in Budapest and presented China with their seventh diving title of the 11 so far contested at the 17th FINA World Championships.

Shi was in a class of her own, leading throughout the five-round final, and won by a handsome 24 points in a Chinese one-two with Wang Han, with Canada’s Jennifer Abel prevailing in the battle for bronze.

Shi thus matched the golden double of 3m and 3m synchro she achieved at the 2016 Rio Olympics, having triumphed in the Budapest 3m synchro final with Chang Yani. She also became the first woman since Guo Jingjing in 2008/2009 to follow an Olympic victory in the 3m with a world title the following year.

Shi Tingmao (CHN) - Photo by Giorgio Scala/Deepbluemedia

In each round of the final except the second, Shi scored the highest mark, her consistent brilliance ensuring her gold medal was never in doubt, just as the silver was always going to go to Wang. 

For Wang it was the sixth medal at the Worlds, following 1m bronze in 2009, 1m silver behind Shi in 2011, 3m silver and 1m bronze in 2013 and mixed 3m synchro gold in 2015.

Abel and Canadian team-mate Pamela Ware, respectively world 3m bronze medallists in 2011 and 2013, had been the closest challengers to Shi and Wang in the preceding day’s semi-final but, while Abel was able to claim her second Budapest medal after a silver in the 3m synchro, Ware dropped off the pace in the fourth round and could finish only sixth.

Shi retained her title with 383.50 points – almost the same as the 383.55 with which she won in 2015. Wang was second on 359.40 and Abel third on 351.55.

Grace Reid of Great Britain moved up to fourth in the final round on 336.70, just ahead of new 1m champion Maddison Keeney of Australia. European 1m champion and Budapest bronze medallist Elena Bertocch of Italy failed to get past the 3m preliminary round.

It was the ninth time in succession that China had won the event at the Worlds, the last non-Chinese winner having been Yulia Pakhalina of Russia in 1998.

Jennifer Abel (CAN) - Photo by Giorgio Scala/Deepbluemedia

Men’s 10m platform

China’s hold on the men’s platform title looked surprisingly shaky, with Olympic champion Chen Aisen unusually error-prone in the semi-final and Yang Jian qualifying for the final deep down the order as Aleksandr Bondar of Russia and 2009 world champion Tom Daley of Great Britain led the way.

It had all looked different in the preliminary round earlier in the day when Chen emphatically outscored his rivals as he targeted a second title in the Duna Arena.

Chen, who won the Budapest 10m synchro with Yang Hao, amassed nearly 32 points more than second-placed  Yang in the preliminary round, with Daley some 38 points behind the leader and nobody else within 60 points of Chen over the six rounds.

Yang and Chen were one and two after the first round of the semi-final but the picture changed drastically in the second round with both plunging down the order after faulty dives left Yang seventh and Chen equal 13th

Chen recovered to take third place but Yang kept making errors and ended up 11th of the 12 qualifiers, 67.35 points adrift of Bondar and relieved that the scores will revert to zero for the final.

Bondar, a Budapest silver medallist in the 10m synchro when he and Viktor Minibaev were runners-up to Chen and Yang Hao, led from the second round onwards and amassed 509.10 points from his six dives. Daley chalked up 498.65 and Chen 488.55, with Yang back on 441.75. 

China, who achieved a clean sweep of all 10 diving titles at the 2011 Shanghai Worlds, have dropped four of the 11 so far contested in Budapest – the women’s 1m won by Australia’s Maddison Keeney, the men’s 3m synchro won by Russia’s Evgeny Kuznetsov and Ilia Zakharov,  the mixed team event won by Laura Marinou and Matthieu Rosset of France – the first French world championship diving medal of any colour - and the women’s 10m won by Jun Hoong Cheong, Malaysia’s first-ever world diving crown. 

They won 10 out of 13 in an extended programme in Kazan in 2015, a total they cannot equal in Budapest.