Suffering from an injury on her waist, Shi Tingmao proved her reputation as the Queen on the women's 3m springboard as the two-time Olympic champion romped to take the victory and brought a one-two finish with Wang Han at the 18th FINA World Championships here on Friday.
It was Shi's third consecutive world title in the event, thus helping China remaining unbeaten in the 3m since 2001. Guo JIngjing swept five gold in a row and the last non-Chinese champion was Yuliya Pakhalina from Russia at the 1998 Perth Worlds.
China so far booked all 11 gold medals on offer in Gwangju.
Very consistent throughout the final, Shi was always smooth on the board and left no chance to the other divers, winning in 391.00 points. The 27-year-old topped each of her dives, except her fourth, a 107B (Forward 3 1/2 somersault pick) – she was second (77.50) behind Maddison Keeney of Australia for the same combination (79.05).
Wang Han received her third silver medal of the event following her second places in 2013 and 2017 Worlds, while Keeney placed third in 367.05.
Jennifer Abel of Canada, bronze medalist in Budapest two years ago, finished fourth (333.35).
Shi Tingmao (CHN), gold:
“It was my fifth presence at the Worlds, from a rookie to a veteran. It was harder and harder each time to win the gold medal as the competition was very close today. I have a bad waist injury but I had to overcome the pain to focus on my own dives. The victory boosted my confidence on the way to Tokyo Olympic Games.”
Wang Han (CHN), silver:
“I did pretty consistent five dives, no big errors but not perfect either. I was happy that Shi and I had a one-two finish since Keeney is very competitive and respected rival. It was my third time competing in the 3m individual springboard, I was hungry for the gold medal."
Maddison Keeney (AUS), bronze:
"This is my first individual medal at World Championships. It really means a lot to me because I've always been away from the podium. The competition was really hard and close. I felt lucky I was competing with the best divers in the world. Shi and Wang are incredible athletes. I learn something from them every time. And they're my good friends as well. I'm pleased to have a healthy, competitive relationship with them.”
Jennifer Abel (CAN), fourth:
“There are always things to improve and that's the reason why I was not on top of the podium. I was really happy that I learned a lot here. My preparation was very good. I was strong physically and mentally but there were some little details I need to work on. I will compete at the Pan American Games after the Worlds and then prepare for next year's Olympic Games.”