Zhou Xin, FINA Media Committee Member

China celebrated a clean sweep at the 2018 FINA/CNSG Diving World Series in Beijing on Sunday as Zhang Jiaqi, Yang Jian and Linshan/Lian Junjie claimed the last three gold medals on offer on the platform. China has pocketed all 10 golds at the first leg of this year's FINA Diving World Series.

14-year-old Zhang scored an event-high 95.70 for her third dive (207C) and 92.80 for her 407C, collecting 439.10 points to lift the women's 10m platform title. Olympic champion Ren Qian finished second in 432.30 and Kim Kuk Hyang of DPR Korea third in 369.55. 


"I want a Barbie doll as a gift to celebrate my victory! It’s my first World level competition and I earned my career-high scores. I was satisfied with my performance and focused on each dive. I didn't think about the points during the competition," said the native girl from Beijing, who is widely regarded as China's next superstar. Zhang had already showed her talent in domestic competitions last year at the Chinese National Games, when she took both the single and synchronised titles on the platform. 


Zhang Jiaqi (CHN) - Photo by He Changshan (Xinhua News)

Ren was shocked with her score which was close to her winning points at Rio Olympic Games. "Since I am getting taller, heavier and older, I am surprised that I can manage my dives as clean as I was two years ago. It boosts my confidence that I can fly in the future. I am not afraid of rivalry with other younger teammates. I just need to concentrate on myself," Ren said.  

Malaysian veteran Pandelela Pamg finished fourth in 353.85 while her teammate, reigning world champion Cheong Jun-Hoong stopped in the semi-final.


"I felt OK with my dives because they were smooth and steady, but my entries were not very good. I am now in the internships so I have more time to practice. I want to work as a sport agent when I graduate from University," Pamg said.


Despite mistakes, world runner-up Yang Jian snatched the men's 10m platform title in 539.55 and won the battle with Olympic champion fellow Chen Aisen (529.05). Nikita Shleikher of Russia took the bronze (512.05).


"I was lucky to win by a narrow margin, with less mistakes compared with Chen and other rivals. I did not perform my normal form though I was eager to show my best in front of the full-house audience,” Yang considered.  


Chen Aisen was the other Olympic champion who failed to win the gold on Sunday as he got 529.05 in men's 10m platform, 10.5 points behind his world runner-up teammate Yang Jian to claim the silver. 


"I was not in good form recently because of injury and lack of passion, so the result today was not bad for me," Chen said. "I have to work hard in the training and try to go back to my best level." 


This victory was Yang's first international event title since the year of 2014. As the holder of the world record in 616.50 points in the men's 10m platform, the 24-year-old said it was a little "lucky" to win the gold. 

World champion Thomas Daley (GBR), who finished second after the first four rounds before he made a big mistake in his 109C (37.00 points) in the semifinal, failed to enter the final.


"I am struggling with my dives as I am building back gradually. Since it is my first competition this season, I don't want to be rush. I am still building for the World Cup in June, slowly, slowly. The most important is the long-term goal - World Cup this year. I have to keep practicing my dives, no matter the easier or difficult dives. I just want to keep trying in the competition," Daley said.


The men's 10m mixed event podium - Photo by He Changshan (Xinhua News)

Lin Shan and Lian Junjie took the title in the mixed 10m synchro platform with 349.56 points. Kim Mi Hwa/Hyon Il Myong of DPR Korea came second in 330.30 and Lois Toulson/Matthew Lee of Britain were third (305.10), 

The second leg of the 2018 World Series moves to Fuji, Japan on March 15-17.