Chinese duo leap to springboard gold
Monday, 11 August 2008

BEIJING, Aug 10 (bdnews24.com/Reuters) - China leapt and twisted to gold in the women's synchronised 3 metre springboard on Sunday, claiming the first diving medals in a sport which the host nation hopes to dominate.

China's "diving diva" Guo Jingjing and younger partner Wu Minxia lived up to their billing as favourites, compiling a total of 343.50 points to beat Russian duo Julia Pakhalina and Anastasia Pozdnyakova, who took the silver with 323.61.

The Chinese pair, cheered on by an ecstatic capacity crowd, steamed into the lead on the second round with a beautifully executed back dive that won them perfect 10s for synchronisation from several judges, and strengthened their position with their next three dives.

The bronze medal went to Germany's Ditte Kotzian and Heike Fischer who executed a strong last dive to pull out of a tie with the U.S. duo and finish on 318.90 points.

Asked if the roaring home crowd had made them more nervous, Guo told state television: "We have prepared really well beforehand. We had all kinds of simulations in training, including those designed to help us deal with distraction and concentrate on the match."

These will be the last Olympics for world champion Guo, who is hoping to claim the gold in the individual springboard as well to match her performance in Athens where she won top place in both events.

If she does she will become the most successful female Olympic diver ever, narrowly topping the haul of compatriot Fu Mingxia.

"Although I crave for the single gold, I cannot spend too much time thinking about the results," Guo said.

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