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China goes for 5th Gold
Olympic News service

China goes for fifth gold in diving

29 September 2000

China's TIAN Liang began his bid for his first Olympic gold medal by winning the preliminary round of the men's 10 meters platform at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games Friday.

Hu Jia of China
Susumu Takahashi / Reuters

China has already won a total of eight diving medals - four gold and four silver - in the seven diving events held to date. TIAN and HU Jia, who finished second Friday, have already won a silver medal for China in the men's synchronized 10m platform.

However, they will have tough competition from three-time Olympian Dmitri SAOUTINE of Russia, the defending Olympic champion, who finished third in the preliminary. The Russian won gold in Saturday's synchronized 10m platform event and won individual titles at the 1998 World Championships in Perth and the 1994 World Championships in Rome.

SAOUTINE will be looking to win after a disappointing finish in the 3m springboard, where he led up until the final round and managed only a bronze.

Other than China, both Australia and the United States have two divers in the top 10. Australia has already won two bronze medals - ninth place Robert NEWBERY helped win one in the synchronized 3m springboard - and the US one gold.

Canada's Alexandre DESPATIE, at 15 the youngest competitor in the entire diving competition, performed exceptionally well. The defending Commonwealth Games champion was among the top four places for most of the program before finishing eighth in his first Olympic Games preliminaries.

The program was highlighted by dives valiantly performed by British competitors Leon TAYLOR and Peter WAKEFIELD. In their second attempt, each performed a back 2-1/2 somersault with 2-1/2 twists. The dive has a meet-high degree of difficulty of 3.8 and is so rare, it is not officially rated by the sport's governing body, Federation Internationale Natation Amateur (FINA).

The top 18 divers from the preliminaries advanced to Friday night's semifinals.

Olympic News service

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