The FINA/NVC Diving World Series 3 station got successfully launched in Kazan, Russia.
The first set of medals was played in the women's 10m synchro platform, and the favorites once again left no doubts as to their claims for gold.
2016 Olympic women’s 10m platform champion Ren Qian, which together with Yani Chang had finished at the top of the two previous legs of the 2017 FINA/NVC World Diving Series earlier this March, took the floor in Kazan introducing her new synchro partner. She was also an Olympian, Yajie Si, who won silver in the 10m women’s platform in Rio. They got perfectly well together and showed a pretty strong list.
2016 Olympic bronze holder Canadian Meaghan Benfeito teaming young and rising Caeli McKay finished second.
Another surprise came from Iuliia Timoshinina/Valeriia Belova of Russia. They managed to overtake Malaysian duo by some 6 points.
One more Olympic China-born champion finished atop of the 10m synchro platform event to repeat the success stories of the two home-held events of the circuit. Aisen Chen pairing Hao Yang showed consistence in the men's 10m synchro platform, and won convincingly at 462.57 points. The victorious duo finished over 54 points clear of their closest challengers from Germany. Sascha Klein/Patrick Hausding landed silver as they narrowly overtook Thomas Daley/Daniel Goodfellow of Great Britain.
Two-time Olympic Champion Tingmao Shi proved her consistency and talent, starring in the women’s 3m synchro springboard with her new partner Yani Chang.
Russian Kristina Ilinykh and Nadezhda Bazhina finished 12 points adrift on second, 309.00. Taking a poor start at the end of the chart, the hosts managed to return in the battle and were a success as they outscored 2016 Olympic bronze holder Maddison Keeney teaming a freshman Esther Qin, which landed bronze, 289.90.
In the men’s 3m synchro springboard event, everyone expected a good competition between Yuan Cao/Siyi Xie of China and British Olympic champions Jack Laughter/Chris Mears. The two previous legs of the circuit showed supremacy of the Chinese.
“Overall, we are happy with the end result, but there were some mistakes we can improve in the future, - said Chris Mears. - I always loved diving in Kazan. The arena is very light and pretty”.
“It was important for us to beat British duo as we lost to them in 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, - confessed Yuan Cao. – We are not that happy with the way we dived today, and we will definitely train hard to be a success at the FINA World Championships in Budapest”.
Unlike in Guangzhou and Beijing, 3m synchro springboard Olympic champion of Great Britain did not appear on the podium for 3m springboard winners in Kazan. On his second attempt, his take-off was absolutely perfect, but Jack Laugher could not find the bottom of it, and his entry aroused a good splash. Ilia Zakharov of Russia, did not hesitate to make use of this chance. Zakharov did not excel himself further on, thought the margin got was pretty enough to secure bronze at 486.70.
As for the gold, it was one more time this evening played between the Chinese. 2016 Olympic champion Yuan Cao showed consistency and balance, tight spins and rip entries into the water. He finished over 8 points ahead of his compatriot Siyi, 515.40, registering his first win in 2017 FINA/NVC Diving World Series.
Jie Lian and Junjie Lian, following their tradition set in Beijing, left no chances for their rivals in the mixed 10m platform.
Russian Iuliia Timoshinina and Viktor Minibaev collected a silver.
Melissa Wu/Domonic Bedggood of Australia completed the podium, 314.34, and they were pretty happy with their 2nd bronze of the World Series-2017.
The previous legs of the 2017 FINA/NVC Diving World Series, which took place earlier this year in march, were hugely dominated by China. Chinese athletes grabbed 9 out of 10 titles on offer in Beijing, and then improved on their achievement up to a clean golden sweep in Guangzhou. So far, the only “foreign” man on top had been Jack Laugher of Great Britain, winning gold medal in 3m springboard. Other nations on the podium included Russia, Australia, North Korea, Malaysia, Mexico and Germany.
Can it change for the World Championships in Budapest? It surely turns out in July!