Claudia Ruiz, FINA Press Correspondent in Mexico

TIJUANA, Mexico - The world's best divers are in the border city of Tijuana for the fourth and final leg of the FINA/Midea Diving World Series 2012, to be held at the High Performance Sports Center, in Baja California, Mexico, from April 20-21. The event brings together the best divers from twelve nations for the most important showdown ahead of the 2012 London Olympic Games: China, Canada, USA, Italy, Ukraine, Britain, Malaysia, Germany, France and Mexico to name a few.  The competition programme includes 3m springboard and 10m platform individual and synchro for women's and men's. The pool has been equipped with bleachers to welcome 2,200 people, which can be appreciated from any angle competencies in addition to the webcast and TV. In 2008, Tijuana already hosted a Series leg, which turned out to be a great success ahead of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where home hero Paola Espinosa and duo partner Tatiana Ortiz earned the bronze in the 10m platform synchro event.

For London 2012, Mexico's diving team includes both confirmed and rising talents, positioning themselves as strong medal contenders for this summer big meet: Paola Espinosa, Laura Sanchez, Alejandra Orozco, Carolina Mendoza, Arantxa Chavez, Yahel Castillo, Daniel Islas, Julian Sanchez, German Sanchez and Ivan Garcia.

China is currently topping the overall rankings of this year's Series, having won all or most of the events in the three previous stages. World champion Chong He is well on its way to clinch his second Diving World Series title (the first was in 2008) in the 3m springboard while teammates Yuan Cao and Yanquan Zhang are strong favourites in the 10m platform synchro. British star Thomas Daley leads the rankings in the men's 10m platform following his outstanding performances in Dubai, Beijing and Moscow, but the 2008 title holder will not be in Tijuana, therefore losing all chances to snatch the title this year. The same goes for Chinese great Bo Qiu, who clinched the title at the last three editions, but did not attend the Moscow meet. To crave the title, divers must attend all four meets.
In the women's 3m springboard events, it is a sole Chinese affair with Zi He and Minxia Wu going head-to-head for the title. Wu won in Dubai and was overall winner in 2008 while He walked away with two victories so far (Beijing and Moscow) and has reigned supreme in the Series since 2009. In the 10m platform, Olympic champion Ruolin Chen is well on her way to successfully defend her title, being unchallenged so far at all meets. Also in the synchro event, Chen (with Wang Hao) currently leads the rankings.

FINA Technical Diving Committee Chairman Jesus Mena arrived in Tijuana where all updates and preparation of the stage took place, as well as Mexican Swimming Federation Diving Vice president, Alberto Acosta. “We are very delighted and happy for the enthusiasm of the local organising committee and we appreciate every effort and the warmth of the people in this city”, Acosta said.

"The Series were created in 2007 with the idea of having all together the best divers in the World, ranked following their performances at the Olympic Games and FINA World Championships, this is the greatest diving event of our International Federation”, Mena said. “We would like our diving stars to be seen and known all over the world", he added.

Mena also praised the efforts done by the coaches, trainers and therapists. On behalf of the local organising committee, CEO Saul Castro Verdugo revealed: “We have the best and most complete team in this preparation for the Olympic cycle, we hope to see the competitors winning medals again”!