Wu leads charge for China as Bri­tish divers miss podium

The Daily Telegraph - Total Football - - RIO 2016 - By Jonathan Liew

Bri­tain’s Ali­cia Blagg and Re­becca Gal­lantree missed out on a medal in the first div­ing com­pe­ti­tion of the Games, fin­ish­ing a cred­itable fifth in the syn­chro­nised 3-me­tre spring­board. On a dank evening at the Maria Lenk Aquat­ics Cen­tre, a light driz­zle blended into the pool almost as in­con­spic­u­ously as the Chi­nese pair of Shi Ting­mao and Wu Minxia, who swept to gold by the ridicu­lous mar­gin of 32 points.

Ta­nia Cag­notto and Francesca Dal­lape of Italy took the sil­ver, with Aus­tralia’s Mad­di­son Keeney and An­abelle Smith tak­ing bronze.

Above all, this was an­other story of Chi­nese ex­cel­lence. If this were a car race, they would have lapped the field. Af­ter claim­ing six golds and two sil­vers in Lon­don, they are aim­ing for a clean sweep of eight this time around. For Wu, her fourth con­sec­u­tive gold medal in this event and her fifth in to­tal set a new record in the sport, as well as mak­ing her, at 30, the old­est woman to win an Olympic div­ing gold. Any con­ver­sa­tion over the great­est diver in his­tory would un­ques­tion­ably need to in­clude her.

Blagg and Gal­lantree, the Com­mon­wealth gold medal­lists and Euro­pean sil­ver medal­lists, pro­duced a per­for­mance that was just about par, marred only by a cou­ple of nig­gling er­rors in the mid­dle sec­tion. They ac­tu­ally sat in bronze medal po­si­tion af­ter their first two dives, but as the de­grees of dif­fi­culty be­gan to ratchet up, they be­gan to slip down the leader­board.

They dropped to fourth af­ter their third dive, a for­ward 2½ som­er­sault in which Blagg strayed too far from the board. Their fourth dive, a back 2½ som­er­saults with pike, was marked down by the 11 judges for Gal­lantree’s an­gle of en­try, which was slightly awry. That dropped them to sixth, and there they stayed.

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