Guo and Wu defend title in women's 3m springboard synchro
BEIJING (Xinhua): Chinese world and Olympic champion Guo Jingjing took the limelight of the Water Cube together with her partner Wu Minxia as they claimed the women's three-meter springboard synchronized gold at Beijing Olympic Games here on Sunday.
The defending champion Guo and Wu, winner of the event in 2004 Athens Olympics and three World Championships, took the lead after the second round in the final to collect 343.50 points, beating their closest rivals Julia Pakhalina and Anastasia Pozdnyakova of Russia, who posted 323.61, by almost 20 points.
The bronze went to Heike Fischer and Ditte Kotzian of Germany with 318.90.
"I am so happy to win the gold at home," said the "diving queen". "I am satisfied with my performance today."
The Chinese always has advantages in the women's 3m springboard, both individual and synchronized.
"It's not as easy as most people think," said Guo, 26, four-time world champion in both of the events. "We trained very hard and made full preparation. We just told ourselves that to make five solid dives would be a success."
"I am very happy to have won a gold medal in front of the Chinese spectators," said Wu, 22, runner-up of the women's 3m springboard in 2004 Athens Olympic Games and three-time world champion in the synchro event. "I feel pressure to compete at home but we tried to be calm and consistent." Guo and Wu are also hot favorites of the women's 3m springboard final, which will be held on next Sunday.
"For the individual event, there will be preliminaries, semifinals and finals," said the "diving queen". "So I don't want to think too much about it. I'll just try and do my best."
"I am happy with my result," said three-time Olympian Pakhalina, winner of the event in 2000 Sydney Olympics and silver medalist in 2004 Athens Olympics with her former partner Vera Ilyna. "I expect the following event very much."
She has paired up with Pozdnyakova since Ilyna's retirement, and the new pair took silver in all legs of the 2008 World Series, including Nanjing, Sheffied and Tijuana station.
The German pair, Heike Fischer and Ditte Kotzian, silver medalist of the event in 2007 Melbourne Worlds, had trailed the American pair Kelci Bryant and Ariel Rittenhouse in the first three rounds, but they tied the points after the fourth dive, and finally managed to surpass them in the last round.
"We are quite satisfied," said the German pair. "It's our first Olympic medal."
The American duo, runners-up of the event in 2006 Changshu World Cup and bronze medalist of the event in 2008 "Good Luck Beijing" World Cup, took the fourth place in 314.40.
"We are young," said Bryant. "I'm 19. We'll keep training for 2012. This was our first time, and next time we'll know what it's going to be like."
Australian Sharleen Stratton and Briony Cole, bronze medalist of the event in 2007 Melbourne Worlds, finished fifth in 311.34. "I hoped to get on the podium," said Cole. "We performed five solid dives but it wasn't enough. "
Beijing Olympics 2008