Golds keep flow­ing for the dream team

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS -

BU­DAPEST — Fu­eled by Olympic cham­pi­ons Chen Aisen and Shi Ting­mao, China’s div­ing team clinched two more gold medals in syn­chro­nized events at the World Aquat­ics Cham­pi­onships on Mon­day.

Chen and Yang Hao won the men’s 10m syn­chro­nized plat­form with 498.48 points, while Shi teamed with 15-year-old Chang Yani to cap­ture gold in the women’s 3m syn­chro­nized spring­board with 333.30 points.

China’s “dream team” has won five gold medals in seven events so far in Bu­dapest.

Chen and Yang met lit­tle re­sis­tance from ri­vals as they main­tained their lead­ing po­si­tion from the open­ing round to win by a mar­gin of al­most 40 points.

Alek­sandr Bon­dar and Vik­tor Mini­baev of Russia fin­ished run­ners-up with 458.85 points while Pa­trick Haus­d­ing and Sascha Klein of Ger­many were third with 440.82.

Set­ting a tar­get of fin­ish­ing with over 500 points, Chen, who won Olympic gold with Lin Yue at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, said there is still room for im­prove­ment.

“We feel pretty sat­is­fied with this re­sult as it is our high­est score as part­ners, but we can do bet­ter,” he said.

It was Yang’s sec­ond ti­tle at the world cham­pi­onships aft- er tak­ing the mixed 3m syn­chro­nized spring­board with Wang Han two years ago in Kazan.

“This one has much more weight for me be­cause it is the Olympic event, and we feel happy about it,” said Yang.

Shi part­nered with Wu Minxia to claim two world ti­tles and Olympic gold in the 3m event in Rio.

Wit­nessed by re­tired Wu, who is serv­ing as a TV com­men­ta­tor in the Hun­gar­ian cap­i­tal, Shi and her teenage part­ner led from the open­ing round to clinch her third ti­tle in the event at the world cham­pi­onships.

“I want to com­pli­ment my part­ner. She is only 15 years old, but she is now a cham­pion. It proves that we can work some magic,” said Shi.

Chang, who re­grouped from an early exit in the 1m spring­board pre­lim­i­nary, found it a lit­tle stress­ful tak­ing over from five-time Olympic champ Wu.

“I feel a lit­tle pres­sure, as it is just my first time at the worlds,” Chang said.

The Cana­dian duo of Melissa Citrini Beaulieu and Jen­nifer Abel placed sec­ond with 323.43 points, while Kristina Ilinykh and Nadezhda Bazhina of Russia took the bronze with 312.60.

Italy pro­vided a brief dis­trac­tion from the Chi­nese dom­i­nance when Gior­gio Min­isini and Manila Flamini took the gold in syn­chro­nized swim­ming.

Min­isini and Flamini won the mixed duet tech­ni­cal ti­tle with a to­tal of 90.2979 points, edg­ing Mikhaela Kalan­cha and Alek­sandr Malt­sev of Russia by just 0.034 of a point.

“Do­ing 90 in this com­pe­ti­tion is un­be­liev­able ... we couldn’t even think of such high scores,” Minsini said.

The Ital­ian pair im­pressed the judges with a chore­og­ra­phy called A Scream from Lampe­dusa, cre­ated by Rus­sian syn­chro­nized swim­mer Anas­ta­sia Er­makova, and ded­i­cated to the huge num­bers of mi­grants ar­riv­ing on the Ital­ian is­land be­tween Si­cily and Tu­nisia ev­ery year.

Bill May and Kanako Spendlove claimed bronze for the United States’ first medal of the cham­pi­onships.

TIBOR ILLYES/MTI VIA AP

China’s Chen Aisen and Yang Hao cel­e­brate win­ning the 10m syn­chro plat­form div­ing ti­tle at the World Aquat­ics Cham­pi­onships in Bu­dapest, Hun­gary, on Mon­day.

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