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China wins 4th & 5th diving golds at worlds

July 23, 2013

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — He Zi’s winning margin of 0.10 points was the smallest ever in diving in world championships history on Tuesday as China raked in its fourth and fifth gold medals in six events.

He Zi won the women’s 1-meter springboard before Qin Kai and He Chong topped the men’s 3-meter synchronized springboard.

He Zi edged Italy’s Tania Cagnotto by executing a flawless final dive to win her second world title in the event. She totaled 307.10 points to Cagnotto’s 370 to reclaim the title she first won in 2007.

“I’m a little surprised by the result,” He Zi said. “But I am very happy. I haven’t thought about (the margin of victory). I can’t even believe that I have the gold medal.”

He Zi has won four career world medals. She also took gold at the London Olympics in 3-meter synchronized springboard and silver in the 3-meter individual springboard.

Cagnotto collected her second silver at these worlds after finishing second with Francesca Dallape in the women’s 3-meter synchronized springboard on Saturday.

Wang Han of China added bronze to her silver in 2011 and bronze in 2009 in this event.

“I wish diving wouldn’t be that close because it hurts,” Cagnotto said. “Of course I am a little disappointed because I don’t know if I will have more chances like this to win a world championship.”

He Zi started well at the Montjuic pool with its views of the Catalan capital by performing an inward pike with 1 1/2 somersaults to lead by more than three points from Cagnotto and Wang.

However, a resurgent Cagnotto entered the final round with a five-point lead over He Zi. She looked set to win her first world title after a reverse pike with 1 1/2 somersaults drew wild cheers from the smattering of Italian fans.

But on the last dive, He Zi nailed a difficult reverse with 1 1/2 somersaults and 1 1/2 twists for 66.30, the highest single score of the final.

“I could have done more on the last dive. I wavered a bit,” Cagnotto said. “The Chinese are good and they deserve it. It’s very satisfying for me to be within 10 hundredths of He Zi — I didn’t expect that.”

Cagnotto said she had had to deal with bigger blows than this.

“I already had this kind of experience in London, but it was worse because I was 0.20 behind the bronze,” she said. ”(Today) I’m happy and satisfied. This is the first time I got so close to the Chinese, and it is an honor to be so close to them.”

In the men’s 3-meter synchronized final, Qin and He Chong outclassed their competition by almost deciding the title halfway through the final when they achieved a tough forward pike with two-and-a-half somersaults and two twists.

Qin, diving with He Chong for the first time at a major competition, recorded his fourth consecutive world title in the event.

He Chong added the gold to his two world titles in the 3-meter individual springboard from 2009 and 2011, and his Olympic gold in the individual event from 2008.

Qin and He Chong earned an unassailable 448.86 points, giving China its seventh gold in the men’s 3-meter synchronized springboard in eight worlds.

Russia’s Evgeny Kuznetsov and Ilia Zakharov repeated their silver medal from 2011 with 428.01 points, and Mexico’s Jahir Ocampo and Rommel Pacheco took bronze with 422.79.

Qin said he hopes they win more.

“I’m not really satisfied with today’s performance,” Qin said. “But on the other hand, it is our first competition, and from this championship we know each other better. This championship gives us confidence and we have to take advantage of it.”

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