Xie claims gold as Cao col­lapses

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS -

BU­DAPEST — China claimed an­other div­ing gold at the World Aquat­ics Cham­pi­onships on Thurs­day.

It didn’t go to the Olympic cham­pion.

Xie Siyi cruised to vic­tory in men’s 3-me­ter spring­board, giv­ing the pow­er­house Chi­nese team its sixth world ti­tle in Bu­dapest.

The 21-year-old Xie wasn’t se­ri­ously chal­lenged af­ter team­mate Cao Yuan, the gold medal­ist last sum­mer at the Rio Games, botched two straight dives.

As­sured of vic­tory with his fi­nal plunge, Xie col­lapsed in the arms of his coach and wiped away tears with a towel. He fin­ished with a score of 547.10 points.

“I did feel an ex­tra bur­den on my shoul­der dur­ing the in­di­vid­ual event,” said Xie, “but I could not al­low my­self to think about the re­sult too much. I had to keep calm. Oth­er­wise, I could have messed it up.

“I only fo­cused on my move­ment, not car­ing too much about the re­sult,” he added.

“I wasn’t ex­pect­ing to win a gold medal, a sil­ver or a bronze, I was just work­ing as hard as I could. Then if it wouldn’t have been enough, it would have been OK.”

Sil­ver went to Ger­many’s Pa­trick Haus­d­ing (526.15), while Rus­sia’s Ilia Zakharov (505.90) claimed bronze.

Cao slipped all the way to 10 th af­ter post­ing the top score in the semi­fi­nals and lead­ing through the first three rounds of the fi­nal. He un­der-ro­tated his fourth dive, hit­ting the wa­ter at a 45-de­gree an­gle and drop­ping back to sixth. His next dive was even worse, the crowd gasp­ing as he made a loud splash with an over-ro­tated ef­fort.

“I didn’t per­form in a ma­ture way,” said Cao. “I was up and down and my per­for­mance wasn’t con­sis­tent.

“I was overly con­fi­dent about my fourth dive and I did it awk­wardly. Af­ter that, I felt frus­trated and lost my usual form.”

Rus­sia’s Svet­lana Kolesnichenko claimed her fourth gold medal of the cham­pi­onships by win­ning the duet free rou­tine in syn­chro­nized swim­ming with Alexan­dra Patske­vich.

Kolesnichenko led Rus­sia to its fifth gold in six syn­chro­nized swim­ming fi­nals this week.

“All our at­tempts weren’t in vain. We did ev­ery­thing we pos­si­bly could. We were train­ing for 10 to 12 hours a day,” she said.

Hav­ing re­versed their re­tire­ment de­ci­sion af­ter each got mar­ried and gave birth, China’s 30-year-old twin sis­ters Jiang Wen­wen and Jiang Tingt­ing fin­ished sec­ond with a score of 95.3000 points. Anna Voloshyna and Ye­lyza­veta Yakhno of Ukraine ranked third at 93.2667.

Mean­while, France won open-wa­ter gold in the 5-kilo­me­ter mixed-team race, hold­ing off the United States.

Marc-An­toine Olivier an­chored France’s vic­tory on Lake Bala­ton, about 130 kilo­me­ters (80 miles) south­west of Bu­dapest, hav­ing al­ready won the men’s 5k in­di­vid­ual race as well as claim­ing bronze in the 10k.

The win­ning time was 54 min­utes, 5.9 sec­onds. Olivier fin­ished 12.2 sec­onds ahead of Amer­i­can Jor­dan Wil­imovsky, the 10k sil­ver medal­ist.

There was a new for­mat for these worlds, with each team fea­tur­ing two women and two men rac­ing in which­ever or­der they pre­ferred.

“I like this new for­mula, since there are more tac­tics, and it is more ex­cit­ing,” Amer­i­can swim­mer Ha­ley An­der­son said.

“We were strug­gling a lit­tle bit at the re­lays, but it was pretty much new for ev­ery­one.”

Mario Sanzullo an­chored Italy to bronze, 25.1 sec­onds be­hind France.


Xie Siyi of China poses with his gold medal af­ter win­ning the men’s 3m spring­board ti­tle at the FINA World Aquat­ics Cham­pi­onships in Bu­dapest on Thurs­day.

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