Redemption and regret as 1st medals won at swimming worlds
By CIARAN FAHEY
Jul. 15, 2017
BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Australia's Maddison Keeney claimed redemption and Russia snatched two gold medals on a day that ended in disappointment for China at the world swimming championships on Saturday.
Xie Siyi and Cao Yuan were on course for another men's 3-meter springboard synchronized diving title for China after leading from the start, but Russians Ilia Zakharov and Evgenii Kuznetsov grabbed the win by 6.9 points with a decisive forward 4-1/2 somersaults tuck in the final round.
Cao expressed regret that China, which had won the synchronized event in eight of the last nine worlds, missed out on gold for the first time since 2003.
There wasn't even a podium place for China in the women's 1-meter springboard, where Keeney won to make up for her disappointment at the 2015 worlds in Kazan, Russia.
Keeney blew her chance of a medal then when she flunked her final dive, but she showed no nerves this time as she nailed a forward 2-1/2 somersaults with one twist, overhauling Nadezhda Bazhina of Russia and claiming her first gold.
"I wanted to redeem myself and come back from that," Keeney said. She then phoned her parents, and fought back tears as she thanked them and her coach.
"My coach always told me that I would be able to change women's diving and be able to push everyone else so that women's 1-meter is not so boring anymore for everyone to watch," Keeney said.
It was Australia's first gold in the event since 2003, the last time China suffered a medal shut out.
European champion Elena Bertocchi of Italy took bronze.
China did get off the mark earlier when Ren Qian and Lian Junjie won the mixed 10-meter synchronized dive.
Ren and Lian, who won at all four meets in the diving world series this season, produced a near flawless performance to rank first after each of the five dives and score an unbeatable total of 352.98.
The 16-year-old Lian became the first man born after Jan. 1, 2000 to win a diving medal at the worlds.
Silver-medalists Matthew Lee and Lois Toulson of Britain were well behind. Kim Mi-rae and Hyon Il-myong of North Korea claimed bronze.
Svetlana Kolesnichenko claimed Russia's first gold of the championships when she won the women's solo technical title.
Kolesnichenko, who already had 12 world golds in synchronized swimming, defeated Spain's Ona Carbonell to win her first gold in an individual event.
Marc-Antoine Olivier, became the first Frenchman to win a world title in open water swimming when he won the men's five kilometer race at Balatonfured on Lake Balaton, some 130 kilometers (80 miles) southwest of Budapest.
"I haven't realized what I did. I wouldn't have thought that I could win," Olivier said after edging Italy's Mario Sanzullo by 0.70 seconds.