World champion Shi Tingmao, already an Olympic gold medallist in Rio, lay down a powerful challenge for a second title when she led qualifiers for the final of the women’s 3m springboard  on Saturday. Shi, who shared the synchronised 3m title with Wu Minxia on the opening day of diving competition in the Maria Lenk pool, had performed below her best in Friday’s preliminary round but she was back to top form in the semi-final and compiled a total of 385.00 points from her five dives, more than 20 ahead of Chinese team-mate He Zi, the 2013 world champion.

He Zi, who collected 364.05, was herself more than 20 points clear of third-placed Jennifer Abel of Canada, who scored 343.45. Abel had led the 18 qualifiers from the preliminary round but began badly to lie 16th equal in the first round of the semi. However, the Canadian, fourth in the synchronised 3m event with Pamela Ware, rallied well to qualify third of the 12 for Sunday’s final. Ware too made the cut.

European champion Tania Cagnotto of Italy, silver medallist in the 3m synchro with Francesca Dallapè, dropped out of the top four on her final dive, finishing seventh on 324.40 points, behind Australia’s Madison Keeney (fourth on 326.35) and Abigail Johnston (USA) and Yan Yee Ng (MAS), who were joint fifth. The scores are not carried forward and the divers will start again from zero in the final.

Tania Cagnotto (ITA) ©Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia