China sweeps all golds at FINA/CNSG Diving World Sequence

BEIJING, March 9 (Xinhua) — The Chinese divers cheered up the full-house home crowds at the Water Cube as Zhang Jiaqi, Yang Jian and Si Yajie/Lian Junjie took the last three gold medals for a clean sweep of 10 titles on offer at the FINA/CNSG Diving World Series which concluded here on Saturday.

Two-time World Cup champion Zhang led from the start and sealed the victory in the women’s 10m platform with 400.05 points. Her fellow Chinese, Rio Olympic champion Ren Qian came to second with 371.20 and Meaghan Benfeito of Canada was third with 336.40.

“It’s my best performance in recent months. I was very nervous as all the fans cheered up for us, but I felt better now. It was not easy to receive 400-plus scores,” said the 15-year-old Zhang.

Yang continued his winning streak in the men’s 10m platform after he won the event in Sagamihara, Japan. He collected a total of 573.60, including 102.60 for his fifth dive 207B and 110.70 for his last 109B.

Olympic champion Chen Aisen of China came from behind after three rounds to finish runner-up with 527.65, beating Aleksandr Bondar from Russia to third in 509.95, and Briton Thomas Daley failed to make the podium in 488.50.

“I don’t think I had a perfect final. I became the champion just because my strong rivals, Chen Aisen and Daley made bigger mistakes than I did,” Yang said. “I suffered from deep scratches and long stitches on my right heel during the winter that ruled me out of training for one month. And I felt exhausted now after our national qualifier, the last stop in Japan and here in Beijing.”

Daley, who had a flying start to finish second after two rounds, made a big splash in his fourth dive 626B for 63 points to rank him fourth place.

“I did not perform as good as I did in Japan. It was two long weeks of competition,” Delay said. “I still need to work on my strength that can prevent me from injury. I need to get used to the competition pace.”

“I put on more dry land training, such as weightlifting since last year. I will try to make myself stronger when I’m back to home and get ready for the next World Series and World Championships,” Daley said.

Chinese new pair Si/Lian claimed the mixed 10m platform synchro title in 346.38, beating Nikita Shleikher/Luliia Timoshinina of Russia to second in 301.26 and Nathan Zsombor-Murray/Meaghan Benfeito of Canada to third in 300.96 respectively.

This year, the FINA/CNSG Diving World Series feature five meets in Sagamihara (Japan) from March 2-3, Beijing (China) from March 7-9, Montreal (Canada) from April 26-28, Kazan (Russia) from May 10-12 and London (Britain) from May 17-19.

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