Eliana Alves, FINA Media Committee Member

The 20th FINA Diving World Cup finishes on Wednesday February 24 and China was the star in the penultimate day, in Maria Lenk Aquatic Centre, in Rio de Janeiro (BRA).

Shi Tingmao (gold) and He Zi (silver) dominated the women’s 3m springboard. Canadian Jennifer Abel won the bronze medal with an amazing performance edging from her 12th and last place after the first round.

Despite Shi Tingmao not being able to show her best in the prelims of the 3m springboard (she finished second with 344 points), she managed to score 377 in the semifinal and ended up at the top, reaffirming her gold medal from Kazan 2015. Her teammate He Zi qualified second (370.05) followed by Jennifer Abel from Canada (362.60) and Italian Tania Cagnotto (348.45). In the preliminary phase, Tania, 30, qualified for her fifth Olympic Games.

©Alice Kohler

The women’s competition ended on Tuesday February 23, in the same swimming pool that will receive the diving competition during the Olympic Games.

“It is normal to compete between us. It is a healthy competition because we push each other. I like Rio very much and the venue is very beautiful. In China we don’t have much outdoors arena and I like it. The main difficulty was the weather. In China, it is winter at the moment but it is summer in Rio now, but it will be different in August” said He.

Jennifer Abel (CAN), bronze medal in London 2012, climbed the podium and was prepared for her first dive, an inward two and a half somersaults, but something didn’t work and she finished the first round in 12th and last position. Step by step she climbed back to the third place, even with a low score in the last dive.

“I have missed my first dive and it’s really hard to come back strong, but I did and unfortunately I missed my last dive too and be third with too dives show me that I can overcome any mistakes and stay on the podium. It’s a really positive result for me today especially for my semi-final and final. It was good to be in an outdoor arena, because in Canada it is too cold at the moment, and it was good to feel the summer in Rio. We train in Cuba twice a year and outdoor arenas are normal for us” Jennifer explained.

Chinese Qiu Bo, since he won the silver medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games, became the king of the platform, winning the gold in the FINA World Championships in Barcelona 2013 and Kazan 2015. He proved his excellence in the men’s platform diving during the preliminary phase scoring 535.15 points, maintaining himself 37.40 ahead of second place, Ivan Alejandro Garcia Navarro from Mexico who is competing under the FINA Flag (497.75).

German Sacha Klein (470.80), silver in the synchronised 10m platform with Patrick Hausding on Sunday was third and Chinese Chen Aisen (459.35) who won the same event together with Lin Yue demonstrated that they will be strong candidates for the podium.

The last day will award the best in the men’s 10m platform.

Tania Cagnotto ©Alice Kohler