Star diver Shi Tingmao suffers uncommon upset, Cao claims third title

BEIJING, March 8 (Xinhua) — Olympic and world champion Shi Tingmao suffered a rare upset in her favorite 3m springboard while Cao Yuan grabbed his third title at the FINA/CNSG Diving World Series 2019 here on Friday.

Shi, who remained unbeaten since 2013, both at home and abroad, scored 1.5 points less than long-time friend and new synchro partner Wang Han in the first dives, and had the gap gone further little by little after each round.

Shi eventually collected 367.00 points for the silver, 10.40 behind winner Wang. Jennifer Abel of Canada finished third with 332.70.

“It’s a pity that I did not perform to my best today. Every dive was not as clean as usual. And I was upset, but I wanted to congratulate Wang Han. She did a pretty job,” Shi said. “I am not afraid of failure, I need to learn from it since I haven’t tasted the bitterness for many years.”

“It was not too bad to lose to Wang. It’s too hard for anyone not to make mistakes, and it’s better to take it earlier than later. At least I have a long way to fight for,” added Shi.

Wang said she has a special feeling of the Water Cube. “I cherish every chance at the Water Cube as it was one of the Beijing Olympic venues. I was happy with the gold medal but not satisfied with my performance. I still need to improve on my techniques,” said Wang, the mixed synchro world champion.

Two-time Olympic champion Cao who won the 10m platform synchro in London 2012 and the 3m springboard in Rio 2016, sealed the victory in the men’s 3m springboard with six stable dives for a winning total 541.95 points.

“I was lucky to take my third gold. I just had six smooth dives, no perfect ones and no big mistakes. I enjoyed my pace of competition,” said Cao, who won two synchro titles in the 3m springboard and 10m platform on Thursday.

World champion Xie Siyi conceded to the silver due to his poor fourth and sixth dives for 527.90. Jack Laugher of Britain took the bronze with 457.55, edging Rommel Pacheco Marrufo of Mexico by 0.45.

“I was disappointed, especially the fifth dive 109C that scored only 45.60 points. I did not show my training form,” Laugher said. “It’s great seeing Cao doing so well. I competed before Cao in the final, so I could watch his dives. Both Cao and Xie are my respected divers and I am happy competing with them. I will get stronger next stop in Canada.”

Chinese new pair Chang Yani/Yang Hao ruled the mixed 3m springboard for 315.21, beating Francois Imbeau-Dulac/Jennifer Abel of Canada (304.08) and Thomas Daley/Grace Reid of Britain (294.39) to second and third respectively.

China wrapped up all seven gold medals on offer during first two days at the second leg of the FINA/CNSG Diving World Series 2019.