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August 29, 2018

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Birthday joy as Chinese teens splash for gold

TWO 14-year-old divers from China became the youngest gold medalists at the 2018 Asian Games when they romped to victory in the women’s synchronized 10-meter platform yesterday.

Zhang Jiaqi and Zhang Minjie — fresh from victory at the Wuhan World Cup in June — tumbled into a commanding lead from their opening dive and never looked threatened, securing the top spot with 361.38. Victory was the icing on the cake for Zhang Minjie, who was 14 yesterday. Behind the terrific teens came the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea duo Kim Kuk Hyang and Kim Mi Rae— who placed fourth in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio — on 337.86. Malaysian pair Leong Mun Yee and Nur Dhabitah Sabri bagged bronze with 310.80.

Zhang Jiaqi, ranked five in the world, and world No. 9 Zhang Minjie showed no hint of nerves as they rolled out a spectacular back two-and-a-half somersaults and one-and-a-half twists in the fifth and final round to clinch the gold.

Exiting the pool in perfect synchronisation, there was no smile — just a conspiratorial whisper from Zhang Jiaqi, nicknamed “Little Fu Mingxia” after the Chinese diving great, into the ear of her teammate. The win continued China’s perfect streak in the synchronised 10m platform, winning the fifth gold medal on the fifth occasion the event has been held.


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