China ends years of drought in women's platform

Updated: 2007-03-22 09:05
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MELBOURNE - Two World Championships rookies sealed the win for China in the women's 10-meter platform diving on Wednesday, ending the dream team's drought in this event for past two Olympics and two World Championships.

China ends years of drought in women's platform
China's gold medalist Wang Xin is flanked by compatriot and silver medalist Cheng Ruolin (R) and Germany's bronze medalist Christin Steuer (L) following the women's 10-metre platform competition at the World Aquatic Championships in Melbourne March 21, 2007. [Reuters]

The 14-year-old Chen Ruolin, the winner of the led the first two rounds but made an unusual mistake in her third dive, only collecting 49.6 points and giving teammate Wang the chance to take the lead.

Although Chen attracted six "10s" from the seven judges with a superb fourth dive, her teammate Wang Xin earned a gold-winning score of 432.85 with five excellent dives.

Chen held the runner-up position with 410.30 points

"Since this is the first time I take part in the World Championships, I feel excited and nervous as well," said the 14-year-old Wang.

Wang was enlisted in the Chinese national team in 2006, and bravely notched up the gold at the Doha Asian Games last December.

"I have improved a lot," said Wang. "And the victory in Melbourne could increase my confidence."

While the Chinese teenagers held the top two spots firmly from the preliminary to the semifinals then to the final, Laura Wilkinson experienced the hardship in her title-defending journey.

The 28-year-old American veteran struggled to enter the semis with an 18th placing in the preliminary on Tuesday. Then, the 2000 Sydney Olympic champion kept her below-par performances in the final, finishing fourth with 361.80 points.

"I'm disappointed. I wanted a medal and maybe even to win," said Wilkinson at her last World Championships.

Christin Steuer from Germany took the bronze with a total score of 386.85 points.

The host's sensation Melissa Wu also made big mistakes in two dives and was placed 11th among 12 finalists.