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DESPATIE WINS TOWER WAR AT DIVING GRAND PRIX
March 3, 2002
The Canadian Amateur Diving Association Inc.

ROSTOCK, Germany. Alexandre Despatie of Montreal won a war of near-perfection with one of the top Chinese divers Sunday to earn the gold medal on men. s 10-metre tower at the Rostock Open, the second stop this season on the Grand Prix diving circuit.

Despatie, 16, scored two perfect 10. s en route to a 532.95 points total in one of the finest performances ever by Canadian diver. Yutong Luo, the number-two Chinese diver behind Olympic and world champion Tian Liang, was a very close second in 531.60. Peter Waterfield of Britain was a distant third at 455.13.

The outcome went right down to the final dive of the night with both closing out the meet with a back 21/2 with a half-twist. Despatie scored 9.0 and 9.5's while Luo posted 8.5. s and 9.0s. It is the first time a Canadian has won the men. s tower event in the 49-year-history of the meet.

Despatie, also first in the preliminaries and semifinal, scored one 10 on an inward 31/2 and another 10 on a back 31/2. He never scored lower than an 8.0 the entire day.

"I don't know if Alexandre can impress me anymore," said Despatie. s coach Michel Larouche of Montreal. s CAMO Club. "He is now at a level that we have never seen before in Canada. And the competition is so intense. Yet he can overcome the pressure and go out and get 9.0's on almost every dive."

Christopher Kalec of Montreal was eliminated in the semifinal and placed seventh while Philippe Comtois of Montreal returned to the tower and was 14th. Comtois, whose best event in the three-metre, took another big step in his comeback by competing on tower after a serious leg injury nearly ended his career in April 2000.

Larouche said that several European nationals are pressuring FINA, the international governing body for aquatic sports, to give a special award to Comtois for his courageous comeback.

On women's three-metre synchro, Alida DiPlacido and Emilie Heymans of Montreal were fourth out of 12 entries.

The Grand Prix circuit continues next weekend in Moscow.

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