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Defending champ Guo attempts better show in the semifinal
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12:31, August 16, 2008

Chinese Olympic champion Guo Jingjing is to start her second leg towards an individual gold in women's three meters springboard semifinal on Saturday evening.

As the top qualifier, she will dive last in the semifinal, competing another 17 divers for the 12 seats in the final on Sunday.

During the preliminary on Friday, Guo had struggled with her third dive, a forward three-and-a-half somersaults in pike position, with a degree of difficulty 3.1.

She collected only 58.90 points in this attempt, slumping from 2th to 13th place.

The diving diva, however, managed to secure back her reigning position after the final round, surpassing Russian veteran Julia Pakhalina, who led after the first four dives.

Another hot favorite Wu Minxia, Guo's customary strongest rival for gold, seemed nervous in her first dive in the preliminary, but gained confidence from the following round and finished fourth.

The two Chinese are considered overwhelming favorites for the springboard final. But they still face tough battles from strong rivals, including Pakhalina, winner of the Sydney Olympics and the springboard bronze medalist of the Athens Games, Blythe Hartley of Canada, winner of the one-meter springboard at 2001 and 2005 World Championships, and Aussie Sharleen Stratton, current world No. 2 in this event.

Guo, oldest diver in the Chinese "dream team" at 26, plans to retire after Beijing Olympics and wants to go out on a high note by pocketing both the synchro and individual gold medals on home soil.

Source:Xinhua

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2 USA 14 12 18 44
3 Germany 8 2 4 14
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5 Italy 6 4 3 13
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