China's overwhelming dominance in the diving pool of the Doha Asian Games hardly stirred interest from media and fans.
But the presence of Olympic champion Guo Jingjing and her high-profile love interest Kenneth Fok Kai-kong stole the limelight from other arenas in the Doha Sports City, where diving, athletics, volleyball and basketball are happening at almost the same time.
Photographers had to turn the lens in two directions often during Guo's performance to defend her synchronized springboard title on Monday as her boy friend, grand son of Hong Kong's late business tycoon Henry Fok, kept his eyes on the springboard and the points on the screen.
"Yes, I saw him," said a jubilant Guo after wining the title. "I knew he would come to watch the diving before the competition started."
When asked if she felt pressured when the boy friend showed up, Guo said it had no effect at all.
"I did not feel any pressure during the competition. I had to be concentrated on every dive. There was no time to think of anything else," said Guo.
"I will not defend the 3m springboard title because we want to give more chances to the young players. It is an important competition to polish their skill and make them mentally strong during the preparation for the 2008 Beijing Games."
Guo's victory also delighted Kenneth Fok, who surprisingly wore a shirt of the Chinese sport delegation rather than of the Hong Kong delegation.
"I am so happy that China won the gold medal. But I am afraid I do not know much about the sport.
"Guo Jingjing also performed very well. Her difficulties were not high but she kept stable in every dive."
Guo's off-the-board affairs after the Athens Olympics have been the subject of scrutiny in mainland China and Hong Kong media outlets.
After rumours and speculation of being the girlfriend of national team-mate Tian Liang, she then made entertainment headlines with a paparazzi shot of her dining with Kenneth.
Guo did not deny the relationship, and has been photographed many times with Kenneth Fok in public. Most recent reports say Fok bought an apartment in Beijing in October 2006 and has given it to Guo as a gift.
Her former team-mate Fu Mingxia married former Hong Kong financial secretary Antony Leung in 2002, two years after beating Guo to win the 3m springboard event and her fourth Olympic gold medal in the Sydney Olympic Games.
Fu was 25 years old at that time and Leung was almost 50. She has been living in Hong Kong since then and is a housewife and a mother of two.
Guo, who started training in competitive diving at the age of seven, was selected to the national team when she was 11. She has competed in three Olympic Games and finally tasted the gold medal in Athens, where she took the gold in the individual 3m springboard and the synchronized springboard along with Wu Minxia.
She is set to be the leader of women's team at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, also probably her last Games.
"I will retire after the Beijing Olympics. After 20 years in this sport, it's very difficult. It's time to leave no matter how much you love it," she said.
"I am diving just for fun. I enjoy it. Diving is part of my life."
Guo said she had not decided what to do after retirement. "I have not thought about this question. It's still too early. What I should do now is work hard and just wait for the 2008 Olympic Games."
Source: China Daily