Chen Ruolin poses with her gold medal
China recaptured the women's 10m platform title at the Beijing Olympic Games with teenager diver Chen Ruolin on top podium on Thursday.
Chen, 15, newly crowned 10m platform synchro champion with partner Wang Xin, claimed the gold in 447.70 points, while Emilie Heymans of Canada took the silver in 437.05.
Wang, 16, winner of the event at the 2007 World Championships in Melbourne, took the bronze in 429.90.
Heymans, winner of the event at the 2003 World Championships in Barcelona, once surpassed Chen to top the final in the fourth round, but Chen made an almost perfect dive in the last round to secure the gold, which scored 100.30, the highest score in the final.
"I didn't know I was once behind Heymans in the final, because I never look at the screen before the match is over," said Chen. "But I did feel something in the last dive. So I was a little nervous."
"I told myself to dive as training," she said.
Heymans was satisfied with her silver. "For me it's a very tight competition, and I am really happy about the result."
"I was very nervous but I performed Ok today," said Wang, winner of the event at the 2006 Doha Asian Games. "I am happy with the result, because I did my best."
China has lost the gold in the previous two Olympic Games. At the 2000 Syndey Olympics, American diving icon Laura Wilkinson won the gold, while Chinese diver Li Na took the silver. At the 2004 Athens Olympics, Australian Chantelle Newbery surprisingly defeated Chinese favourite Lao Lishi to win the title, while Lao was the second.
"It's fantastic," said Zhou Jihong, team leader of the Chinese diving team. "We have not had this gold for too many years."
"It's the event which I claimed the gold years ago, and now we won it back again," said Zhou, winner of the event in 1984 Olympic Games.
"Chen and Wang are the best platform women divers in the recent ten years," she said.
The 15-year-old Chen, silver medallist of the event in 2007 Melbourne Worlds, has been having a good year. The teenager claimed the gold in the event in 2008 World Cup on February, and her margin of victory was more than 44 points.
"I watched the 2004 Athens Olympics, and I felt really regret for the diver."
Wang, who just celebrated her 16th birthday on Aug. 11, one day before she won the 10m platform synchro gold, has always trailed Chen in major competitions after 2007 Melbourne Worlds.
Wilkinson, the Syndey Olympic champion, finished the ninth in 311.80.
"It obviously wasn't the meet of my dreams, but it was my last dive in the Olympics ever. My team gave me a standing ovation. It felt good to go out on top," she said. Wilkinson has announced her retirement after the Beijing Games.
Paola Espinosa, the flag bearer for Mexico, finished the fourth in 380.95.
Australian 16-year-old Melissa Wu, silver medallist of the 10m platform synchro with partner Briony Cole, finished the sixth in 338.15.
"I'm relieved. It was pretty nerve-wracking up there. I'm really happy to have done so well in a major international competition," said Wu, who made her international debut just two years ago and has already snatched one gold and one silver in this event at Grand Prix circuits this season.
China expects to make a clean sweep in the Water Cube on home soil. They swept all eight golds in the last meet of the FINA Diving Grand Prix in Rome earlier in July.
Now in the Beijing Games, China has collected the first seven gold.
China has undisputed domination in diving. The Chinese diving team claimed five golds at 2000 Sydeny Olympics and further took a record six at 2004 Athens Olympics, contributing more Olympic golds for China than other Chinese teams.
(L-R) Silver medallist Emilie Heymans of Canada, gold medallist Chen Ruolin of China, and bronze medallist Wang Xin of China
(Xinhua News Agency August 21, 2008)