Former world champion Si Yajie led the way into the final of the women’s 10m platform, aiming to bring China their sixth diving title of the Rio Olympics in the Maria Lenk pool on Thursday. Si, the 2013 world champion, took first place in the morning’s semi-final as she had in the preliminary round the previous evening.
Her tally from her five dives of 389.30 points was slightly lower than in the preliminary but still 22.30 points more than that of second-placed Jessica Parratto of the United States (367.00). World silver medallist Ren Qian, Si’s Chinese team-mate, was edged into third place, her programme marred by a misjudged back 3-1/2 somersaults in the third round which resulted in her finishing third overall on 362.40.
After the exit of world champion Kim Kuk-hyang in the preliminary round, in which she finished way back 25th out of 28, there was a measure of relief for North Korea (PRK) in the semi-final as Kim Un-hyang progressed to the evening’s final as fifth of the 12 qualifiers.
Kim Un-hyang, a bronze medallist in the synchronised 10m at the 2015 FINA World Championships in Kazan (RUS), had been the 18th and last of the preliminary-round qualifiers, making the cut by the tiny margin of 0.10 points. But she dived with more poise in the semi-final, never putting her qualification in doubt.
It was a more bumpy ride for Mexico’s Paola Espinosa, world champion in 2009, who just scraped into the final as 12th and last qualifier, having jeopardised her prospects with a ragged inward 3-1/2 somersaults in the fourth round. Espinosa is glad the scores are not carried forward but revert to zero in the final, as at each stage of the competition.