Derek Parr, FINA Media Committee member

Fifteen-year-old Ren Qian twirled to an Olympic gold medal in the women’s 10m platform final, making it six titles out of seven for China at the Maria Lenk Aquatics Centre on Thursday, with one event still to come. Former world champion Si Yajie, who had led the way in the preliminary and semi-final rounds, completed a one-two for China, with Meaghan Benfeito clinching her second bronze of the Rio Games for Canada. Ren had suffered a hard defeat at the hands of Kim Kuk-hyang (PRK) at the 2015 FINA World Championships in Kazan (RUS) but one year on she was able to bounce back, while her Kazan conqueror Kim did not make it beyond the preliminary round. Ren turned her Kazan silver into Rio gold with a stunning performance in which she secured three perfect 10 scores – two for her fourth-round armstand back 2 somersaults and 1-1/2 twists and one in the final series for her concluding back 2-1/2 somersaults and 1-1/2 twists. Si, the 2013 world champion, was still to come with the same last combination but Ren – some 15 points ahead at the start of the round – was now too far ahead. Si dived it well but not as brilliantly as Ren, who won with an astronomical total of 439.25 points from her five dives.

Si Yajie (CHN) - Photo by Giorgio Scala/Deepbluemedia

Seventeen-year-old Si, almost 20 points adrift, took the silver with 419.40, and Benfeito won the battle for bronze with 389.20. The gap to Ren was 50 points but Benfeito did well to prevail in an absorbing tussle with 2009 world champion Paola Epinosa of Mexico, Australia’s Melissa Wu and her own team-mate Roseline Filion, with whom she had claimed Olympic bronze for the second time in a row in the synchronised 10m event. Espinosa only just squeezed into the final but produced her strongest performance of the two-day contest to take fourth (377.10), while Wu claimed the first perfect 10 of the day for her reverse 2-1/2 somersaults in the third round and finished fifth on 368.30. Filion came to grief on her fourth-round armstand dive and ended up a tearful sixth (367.95).

Meaghan Benfeito (CAN) - Photo by Giorgio Scala/Deepbluemedia

After the exit of world champion Kim Kuk-hyang in the preliminary round, in which she finished way back 25th out of 28, Kim Un-hyang made it a better day for DPR Korea by safely negotiating the morning’s semi-final to reach the afternoon final. Kim Un-hyang, a bronze medallist in the synchronised 10m at the 2015 Worlds, finished seventh in the final. Pandelela Rinong Pamg of Malaysia, Olympic bronze medallist at the 2012 London Games and 2015 world bronze medallist, finished 11th of the 12 finalists, unable to add to her Rio medal collection after her silver in the synchronised 10m the previous week. After the burning sunshine of the preliminary round, the final took place beneath overcast skies.

The men’s 10m concludes the diving programme over the next two days.


REN Qian (CHN) - gold:

"I did pretty well, but not really so perfect, according to my expectations. You can consider me a perfectionist.

"I focused on each individual dive and I think that's why I got the medal."

"I feel quite good about it. I'm young, but I got the medal. I think from now on I'll train harder, I'll work harder so I can focus on my future."

"I'm not fully aware in what ways the Olmypics have changed my life but it has. This is my feeling, my gut feeling, that possibly it will."

"I was thinking about my movement, my dives. I didn't over-think about the final score."

"Training requires a lot because I started training when I was very young so it is really a lot of effort."

"When I was a little kid, I always had a dream to do diving."

"Maybe not because I am quite tall for my age, but I will continue to work hard and press on with my training even if one day (my sports career) comes to an end. I will still continue training."

"I want to study law and also forensic medicine."

"I wasn't a schoolgirl from the start so even if I had to go to school, sometimes it feels quite difficult just to digest the things I've learned."

SI Yajie (CHN) - silver:

"To be honest, I think my teammate (the gold medallist) REN Qian (CHN) is a better diver so I think that she really deserved the gold.

"I really had high hopes and expectations for the gold medal.

"I tried really hard. I put in a lot of effort and I think if I try harder I can probably win the gold medal next time."

"In the fourth dive I felt OK. I felt that I opened my body at the right moment, but perhaps I lost a little bit of control."

On her nicknames:

"I have many nicknames.

"People call me all sort of things. All the names you can possibly think of.

"In my youth, my coach used to call me 'the wild diver' because in the past my position was not good sometimes. I overperformed sometimes and my performance could be a bit shaky. That's why my coach called me 'the wild one'."

Meaghan BENFEITO (CAN) - bronze:

"This medal does feel a lot different. I'm usually known for all the success that I have in the synchro event. I never medalled, other than in a world series, in a world cup or world championships individually, so to come out with an Olympic medal means even more."

"I decided not to look at the scoreboard this time, so I didn't know where I was until the last dive. I wanted to look at my dive and ended up looking at the ranking, and I was like, 'Oh no'.

"I peaked at it by accident. As soon as I get on the (platform) I look at my dive to make sure it's the right dive. I slightly looked to the right and I was like, 'Oh no, I'm third, no', but I was able to stay calm."

"I was hearing the cheering and knew it was loud and knew it was a good event. The girls put on an amazing show and my goal today was really to finish with a smile and know that I gave everything that I had.

"If I would have finished with that score and I would have finished fourth, fifth, sixth, I would have been really pleased knowing that I gave my everything. Just winning a medal makes it even better.

"It's a judged sport so anything can happen until the last dive of the last diver, and I just wanted to make sure that I put my 100% into every dive that I did, knowing that I left it all out there.

"If I came away with a medal, amazing, but if I didn't I would have still been very happy with that score. That's probably one of the best scores I've done all season, so I couldn't be happier than I am right now."

"They're good. They're Chinese. They're the best at the sport, but you can see that they're human too. They miss a little here and there. I think that the fact that all the girls today dived really well and put a lot of pressure on them, that's where they might have cracked just a little bit.

"They're just great at diving. They train so hard - not that we don't train as hard as them - but they're just born to dive and I really admire it and I love competing against them and really trying to push them even harder."