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July 19, 2009

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Home » Sports » Diving

Qin wins first gold in Rome, Chen denied

QIN Kai and Zhang Xinhua of China swept the top two places in 1-meter springboard to open the swimming world championships in Rome on Friday.

Qin compiled 449 points in the six-dive final. Zhang took silver with 445.90 points and Matthew Mitcham of Australia was third with 440.20.

Qin won gold at last year's Beijing Olympics with Wang Feng in 3-meter synchronized and took bronze in 3-meter springboard. He also won two golds at the last worlds in Melbourne, Australia, two years ago.

He seemed unexcited about his latest victory.

"I cannot change my personality," Qin said. "I am happy the way I am."

Qin took control with his fifth dive, a reverse 2 1/2 somersault pike that earned 8.5's and 9's.

Zhang won his first medal at a major championship and moved ahead of Mitcham with his final dive, a forward 2 1/2 somersault with one twist that received 8's and 8.5's from the judges.

"Everybody needs to have a big dive in the final round," Mitcham said. "I did it at the Olympics and he did it here and he deserves that medal."

Mitcham won the 10-meter platform to prevent China from sweeping all eight gold medals at the Olympics. While he led after Rounds 1 and 4, he is not a springboard specialist.

"I only train (springboard) once a week," Mitcham said. "It shows that I'm improving though, if I'm up there competing for medals with these guys. Since the Olympics I've been trying to bring my springboard level up to my platform level."

In yesterday's action, Paola Espinosa of Mexico upset Olympic champion Chen Ruolin for the gold medal in the women's 10-meter platform.

Espinosa scored 428.25 points through five dives from the highest diving board. Chen took the silver medal with 417.60 points and her compatriot Kang Li was third with 410.35.

Meanwhile, the American pair of Troy Dumais and Kristian Ipsen led the preliminary round in 3-meter synchronized.

The veteran Dumais and newcomer Ipsen compiled 420.57 points through six dives yesterday. Alexandre Despatie and Reuben Ross of Canada placed second with 413.91 points, and the British duo of Nicholas Robinson-Baker and Benjamin Swain were third with 408.84.

Olympic and defending world champions Qin and Wang placed fourth.


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