China's new pair claims 2nd diving gold at worlds

Updated: 2011-07-18 10:43


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China's new pair claims 2nd diving gold at worlds

China's Qiu Bo and Huo Liang compete in the men's 10m platform synchro diving final at the 14th FINA World Championships in Shanghai, July 17, 2011. [Photo/Agencies]

SHANGHAI - The men's 10m platform synchronized title had been a concern for Chinese diving team leader Zhou Jihong before the Shanghai worlds, however, newly-paired Huo Liang and Qiu Bo proved there was nothing to be worried about.

Huo and Qiu, 21 and 18 respectively, collected 480.03 points from six solid dives to continue China's gold spree on home soil after veteran Wu Minxia and her young partner He Zi won the women's 3m springboard synchronized on Saturday. Diving queen Guo Jingjing was also among the spectators to witness the victory of the overwhelming favorites.

German duo Patrick Hausding and Sascha Klein finished second at 443.01, followed by Oleksandr Gorshkovozov and Oleksandr Bondar of Ukraine with the bronze medal at 435.36.

"I have participated in the worlds three times, I am happy to win the title because we work very hard." said Huo, 21, who became the first three-time winner of this event after winning the title.

Qiu was not very satisfied with his performance though happy with the result. "I did not do very well today," said Qiu, runner-up of the 10m platform at 2009 Rome worlds. "It feels good to win the title, and now I'm expecting the 10m platform event. My partner Huo Liang is great, I think our team work is great."

Huo, who paired up with Lin Yue to lift the title of the event at the Beijing Games, just paired up with teenager Qiu for about two months. The Chinese diving team had originally planned to send another pair Zhang Yanquan/Cao Yuan, however Zhang was injured before the worlds. And Huo's old partner Lin Yue was also ruled out of the worlds due to injury.

Huo and Qiu are both very strong in individual diving, and the biggest worry for them is their synchronization as they have too little time to train together.

The new pair won the event in the Diving Grand Prix in the United States in May, which was their first and only competition before the Shanghai Worlds.

However, the pair showed the home crowd that there's no need to worry as they performed near perfect synchronization and sometimes even seemed like one person.

"We have not paired up for a long time," said Huo. "We performed our best today and both of us are very happy. Our opponents are quite strong and the scores are very tight."

"Lin Yue is my old partner, so we have experienced a lot and known each other well," said Huo. "But with Qiu, although we have just paired up for about two months, the synchronization went well. We are especially satisfied with that."

China's new pair claims 2nd diving gold at worlds

China's Qiu Bo and Huo Liang celebrate with their gold medals after winning the men's 10m platform synchronised diving final at the FINA World Championships in Shanghai, July 17, 2011. [Photo/Agencies]

The American and German duo both did a good job in their last dive, however Qiu and Huo were quite calm and made an almost perfect last dive.

"They did well, but we didn't feel much pressure," Qiu said. "We trained a lot in our last dive, and I performed better than before."

The Mexico's duo German Sanchez and Ivan Garcia dived with high difficulty but only finished the seventh at 393.09.

"I noticed their high difficulty," Qiu said. "I don't think it is appropriate in the final. "It's better be used in the training. We will decide the difficulty according to our level."

China has traditional advantage in the event. Sun Shuwei and Tian Liang won the first 10m platform synchro gold when the event made a debut at the World Champoinships in 1998. In the recent five editions, China won three of the five titles, as Tian Liang and Hu Jia took the third at 2003 Barcelona worlds, and Hu Jia and Yang Jinghui finished with a silver at 2005 Montreal worlds.

Although the new pair is quite successful, they have no idea whether they will still be a pair in the future. "It will be up to the coach," said Qiu. "My aim now is the 10m platform individual event. I will do my best to get good result."

Qiu will take part in 10m platform with teammate Zhou Luxin on July 24. Men's 10m platform has always been a weak point for China, as they lost the title both at the Beijing Games and 2009 Rome worlds.

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