Chi­nese syn­chro­nized swim­mers win gold at FINA cham­pi­onships

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE -

BU­DAPEST, Hun­gary — The Chi­nese team won its firstever gold medal in syn­chro­nized swim­ming at the FINA World Cham­pi­onships, tak­ing the ti­tle in the team free com­bi­na­tion here on Satur­day.

Syn­chro­nized swim­ming pow­er­house Rus­sia was ab­sent from the matchup in the Hun­gar­ian cap­i­tal. Un­der the theme of mas­ter and com­man­der as a man­i­fes­ta­tion for brav­ery against chal­lenges, the Chi­nese team earned 96.1000 points.

Ukraine ranked se­cond, with 94.0000 points. The bronze medal went to Ja­pan, with 93.2000 points.

Af­ter the Na­tional Games in May, the ath­letes from seven prov­inces and mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties were re­cruited into the na­tional team and trained for two months.

“I’m quite happy about the gold medal be­cause it was not easy for us to do it,” Tang Mengni said.

“The time for our prepa­ra­tion is a lit­tle short af­ter the Na­tional Games,” she added.

Fin­ish­ing atop the rank­ing in the pre­lim­i­nary, the Chi­nese team just kept cool minds be­fore the fi­nal en route to their mem­o­rable achieve­ment.

“We slept quite well be­fore the fi­nal. We set our own goals, but we didn’t want to give our­selves too much pres­sure to re­al­ize our goals. We just wanted to do our best,” said Tang.

“They fin­ished the whole pro­gram very well, and I’m sat­is­fied with what they did to­day,” China coach Wang Jie said.

Wang said that the team an­a­lyzed prob­lems through video af­ter the top fin­ish in the pre­lim­i­nary round.

“Our ath­letes’ morale was pretty high this time, and they showed their best in the tour­na­ment,” she said.

The Rus­sian team, cur­rently ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a tran­si­tional pe­riod with only two veter­ans on the team, de­cided to quit the event in Bu­dapest.

How­ever, Chi­nese ath­letes and coaches would rather fo­cus on their own im­prove­ments.

“The Rus­sian team is not here to­day, so that’s a bit of luck for us, but the ti­tle comes from our over­all strength as a team,” Tang said.

“In re­cent years, the Chi­nese syn­chro­nized swim­ming team has been among the world’s top.

“We feel that we lag be­hind Rus­sia from the rank­ing at the worlds this time, and they still have much com­pet­i­tive­ness,” she said. “As for other op­po­nents, they also have their own cut­ting edge. We of­ten learn from each other in syn­chro­nized swim­ming.”

China has won five syn­chro­nized swim­ming medals so far in Bu­dapest, three in team events and two in duet events.

The fi­nal event of syn­chro­nized swim­ming, Mixed Duet Free fi­nal, was held on Satur­day even­ing, with the Rus­sian team pre­vail­ing. The first-ever Chi­nese duo in the mixed event at the World Cham­pi­onships, Sheng Shuwen and Shi Haoyu, fin­ished eighth.

Our ath­letes’ morale was pretty high this time, and they showed their best in the tour­na­ment.” Wang Jie, Chi­nese syn­chro­nized swim­ming coach

MICHAEL SOHN / AP

Team China cel­e­brates dur­ing the medal cer­e­mony for the team free com­bi­na­tion syn­chro­nized swim­ming fi­nal at the 17th FINA World Cham­pi­onships 2017 in Bu­dapest, Hun­gary, on Satur­day.

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