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China unveils unexpected lineup for platform diving
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22:19, August 15, 2008

Diving powerhouse China on Friday unveiled an unexpected lineup for men's 10m platform diving at Beijing Olympics, with newly-crowned Olympic champion Lin Yue replaced by his synchro partner Huo Liang.

Team leader Zhou Jihong announced Huo Liang and World Cup winner Zhou Luxin are competitors for the individual event.

The replacement came out of Lin's unstable form in recent months, according to Zhou, who is the country's first Olympic diving champion at the 1984 Los Angeles Games.

Although the 17-year-old grabbed the 10m platform synchro gold on home soil four days ago, he has yet to get back to his best form, Zhou added.

Unlike other events for which the lineup has already fixed ahead of the Olympics, the two divers competing for 10m platform event kept undetermined till Friday, drawing curiosity from spectators and rivals as well.

With Zhou Luxin taking one of the two seats, the team was pondering on Lin and Huo for another stand.

"The diving regulations say the start list remains changeable till three hours before the competitions," Zhou Jihong said.

Lin, bronze medalist of the platform in 2007 Melbourne Worlds, was centered greater expectations for his better achievements in individual events of international competitions.

However, the teenager, described by Zhou as "a young calf who doesn't fear tigers", had gone through a tough journey in recent months.

"Lin is in an age of rapid body growth. He grows taller everyday, but his strength did not increase as that much," said Zhou. "Thus he failed to execute dives as well as before, and quality and difficulty of his dives dropped drastically."

During the pre-Olympic training in Ji'nan in eastern China's Shandong Province, the whole team was going all out to help the 17-year-old get back to his form.

Four days ago, Lin staged a clear-cut victory with Huo in men's 10m platform synchro, which helped to win back some of his confidence.

Commenting on that show, Zhou scored Huo better than Lin, who was less than perfect in water entry.

Huo, 17, is good at synchro diving and had won a series of titles in Grand Prix and World Cup series.

"It's a hard decision to make," Zhou said, adding the team held meetings everyday to produce the final list.

"There is no weak rival at the Olympic arena. Thus we have to make full preparation in every aspect to secure the final victory," said the team leader.


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1 China 25 9 5 39
2 USA 14 12 18 44
3 Germany 8 2 4 14
4 South Korea 6 8 3 17
5 Italy 6 4 3 13
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