Olga Kamardina, FINA Correspondent in Russia

Like two years ago in Penza, the team China dominated the 21st edition of the FINA World Junior Diving Championships, which came to a close on Sunday evening at the Aquatics Palace of Kazan, Russia.

Welcome back on the medals board

Each of the top three in the Girls B (14 - 15 years old) 3m springboard celebrated their next trip to the podium on competition Day 7 of the 21st FINA World Junior Diving Championships.

Yixian Liang seemed to draw the right conclusions out of her silver, she earned in the Girls B 1m springboard on Day 2. First heading into the final tonight, she left almost no chances for her strong challengers.

To begin with, the Chinese executed the forward 3 ½ somersaults pike, 69.75. Then, two rounds later she booked gold by the forward 2 ½ somersaults 1 twist pike with the best sum of the day, 73.50, which increased her overall total to 408.60.

American Maria Coburn, 1m springboard champion of Kazan, finished 10 points behind. She actually was the most consistent diver in the final, as her scores never dipped below 65, but apparently it was not enough to chase the leader. 

Another representative of China Xiaojie He was the third girl on the podium, 397.00, earning her second bronze in Kazan to go with the one she earned in the Girls B 1m springboard.

Awarding ceremony in the Girls A 3m springboard event

“The championships is over, and it is very sad, - confessed the winner Yixian Liang. – It goes without saying, it was not an easy stroll for me to win gold as my opponents were very strong. I am happy with the medal, but I realize, that some of my attempts could have been even better”.

“That was my debut at the Junior Worlds' in Kazan, and I have managed to step up the podium twice, - stated Maria Coburn of the USA. - I believe, this is a good result, and a good start, so I am very happy and excited. I will definitely remember this unique experience of Kazan. I will come back home and be focused on the analyses.”

“I need to train hard to show better results and climb higher, - said Xiaojie He of China. - I am very happy for my teammate Liang, she has deserved the win, and I have already congratulated her on this occasion. This is a big victory for our nation”.

China scoops one more gold, 7th in its collection

The Boys A (16 – 18years old) platform turned out to be a spectacular and unpredictable show. Leaders had ups and downs, highs and lows. They were closely chased by the divers, placed a bit lower after the prelims, who did not hesitate to occupy their place under the sun.

Second heading into the final, Tai Xiaohu of China took the lead on his first dive and a few rounds later passed it to his teammate Lian Junjie, which amazed everyone with the top scoring dives of over 90 points. Shining bright with the forward 4 ½ somersaults with tuck on round 3, he recorded 94.35 with a number of 9s and 9.5s. As a result, he was not possible to reach with the total of 593.55.

Nikita Shleikher was #3 after qualification rounds. As a Kazan's resident, he was ardently supported by the home crowd, and in the final did pretty well. His best dive - the back 2 ½ somersaults 2 ½ twists pike – brought him "just" 84.60, which was not competitive in terms of the Chinese. Mathew Dixon of Great Britain finished third, 545.60, a mere 0.15 clear of his compatriot Matthew Lee, 545.45.

Boys A platform in action

“The 21st FINA World Junior Diving Championships turned to be a success for team China, which pleases me a lot, - said the champion Lian Junjie. – This was my first Junior Worlds, and I believe, it is a good start. 

I liked everything here in Kazan, - he added with a smile. - The arena is very beautiful, so it was a pleasure to compete”.

“I am no way disappointed with my bronze medal, - commented on his performance Mathew Dixon of Great Britaon. – It was a fantastic competition, a very close one. I was only aimed for a medal, as my coach said, and I never predict what quality of medal I might take. I am only for the first year in the Group "A", and I still have two more years as a junior to win the title”.

 

Competition results. 21st FINA World Junior Diving Championships.

Day 7

Girls B 3m springboard

1. Yixian Liang (CHN), 408.60
2. Maria Coburn (USA), 398.60
3. Xiaojie He (CHN), 397.00
4. Annika Miethig (GER), 381.90
5. Scarlett Mew Jensen (GBR), 368.85
6. Mia Jolie Doucent Vallee (CAN), 368.00
7. Arai Matsuri (JPN), 367.75
8. Aranza Vazquez (MEX), 364.95
9. Lena Hentschel (GER), 363.75
10. Uliana Klueva (RUS), 355.55
11. Chiara Pellacani (ITA), 333.95
12. Margo Claire Eriam (CAN), 333.40

Boys A platform

1. Lian Junjie (CHN), 593.55
2. Nikita Shleikher (RUS), 573.80
3. Matthew Dixon (GBR), 545.60
4. Matthew Lee (GBR), 545.45
5. Tai Xiaohu (CHN), 542.05
6. Boris Efremov (RUS), 488.70
7. Isaac Souza Filho (BRA), 482.00
8. Azat Harutyunyan (ARM), 480.30
9. Zachary Cooper (USA), 473.30
10. Nishisa Reo (JPN), 467.30
11. John Capobianco Andrew (USA), 465.60
12. Ito Hiroki (JPN0, 455.05