Chen Ruolin and Liu Huixia (Down)during the competition [Xinhua]
The 20th FINA Diving World Cup, in Maria Lenk Aquatic Stadium, the same that will host the sport at the Olympic Games, in August, started this Friday with the prelims and finals of Women's synchronised 10m platform and Men's synchronised 3m springboard.
The four-time Olympic Champion Chen Ruolin (CHN) partnering Liu Huixia scored 329.46 points in the prelims and won the finals with 344.04. They were the gold medal at the FINA World Championships, in Kazan last year and, since the Olympic Games in Beijing eight years ago, Chen has been a great star of the discipline winning most major titles in synchro platform events and even in the individual 10m event.
The duo Chen-Liu led since the first jump in the water with an Inward Dive, till the fifth and the last dive, a back two and a half somersaults one and a half twists. Cheong Jun Hoon and Pandelela Pamg from Malaysia were second with 316,62 points in the prelims, 318,90 after the finals and secured the second place. The emotion came from the close fight for the bronze medal.
Mexicans Paola Espinosa and Alejandra Orozco Loza (competing under the FINA flag) were third after the prelims (297,06), but Sarah Barrow and Tonia Couch from Great Britain were better with 308.82 points against the 299.94 from the Americans Amy Cozard and Jessica Parrato. Espinosa and Orozco ended in the fifth place (299.40).
At the end of the female event, a strong rain in the Aquatic Stadium disturbed the concentration of the athletes.
"The rain is a challenge, but my partner and I could get along with it. It was important because it was a condition with which we could deal in the Olympics. We do not usually train in external structures, but I think it's not a problem for the Olympics,"said Liu Huixia.
Remembering that Brazil has a place in the Olympic Games as host country and that China, North Korea and Canada entered after the results of the FINA World Championships of Kazan (RUS) last year, four teams can still qualify during the test event in Rio.
The Germans Stephan Feck and Patrick Hausding won the duel with the Chinese Cao Yuan and Qin Kai in the men's synchronised 3m springboard. They scored 429.33 points while Cao and Qin totalled with 419.67. Mexicans Jahir Ocampo and Rommel Pacheco (competing under the FINA flag) was the bronze medal with 409.38 points.
"It was raining and a little bit cold, so I think that we achieved to be more focused than the others. For the Olympic Games we are training to do difficult dives, with 4.5 of difficult degree. To repeat the colour of the medal in the Games I think that all we can do is train even harder and maintain the focus," said Feck.
Brazil, China, Russia and Great Britain were the four with places at the Olympic Games before the World Cup. After Day 1 of the test event, Germany, Mexico, and the Italians Andrea Chiarbini / Giovanni Tocci (395,46) and the Americans Sam Dorman/ Kristin Ipsen secured a spot for the Games.
The Italians were very happy and said that they achieved their goal of winning a place to come back to Rio in August, but that they can do better dives in the near future.
The second day of the event, on February 20, will include the women diving 3m springboard, the men synchronised 10m platform and the women in 10m platform.
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