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Preview: Chinese divers Qin and He expect 3m springboard gold
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22:06, August 18, 2008

Chinese springboard stars Qin Kai and He Chong expect to maintain the winning tradition of China in the men's 3-meter springboard, as the Chinese have been victorious in the event at previous three Olympic Games.

He finished first on Monday's preliminary in 515.50 points, while Qin took the second place in 502.95. Yahel Castillo of Mexico finished third in 480.65.

A total of 29 divers will compete in the preliminary starting Monday night, qualifying 18 into the semi-final. Afterwards, 12 will go to the final battle.

The two Chinese will hardly miss the final. Qin Kai just claimed the gold of synchro springboard with veteran Wang Feng at the Beijing Games. Being the reigning world champion in the event, Qin also grabbed silver at all legs of World Series in 2008, including Nanjing, Shefield and Tijuana.

Being famous for commanding a set of difficult dives, 21-year-old He Chong will be Qin's strongest rival. He, currently the world No. 1 in the event, won the gold in the World Cup in February.

Castillo will be an archrival for China, as he is the only diver who can perform 5355B, a reverse two-and-a-half somersault and two-and-a-half twist in pike position, with a difficulty degree of 3.9.

The Chinese may also be challenged by Canadian golden boy Alexandre Despatie, silver medalist of the event at 2004 Athens Olympics, who finished ninth in the preliminary.

Despatie, also silver medalist at 2007 Melbourne Worlds, has had a difficult year. He fractured his fifth metatarsal of the right foot during a training session in April this year. The injury hampered his training schedule toward the Beijing Olympic Games.

Russian "diving czar" Dmitry Sautin, who just claimed a silver in the synchro springboard, took the fourth in 474.85. The Beijing Olympics is the fifth Games Sautin participated, and also his last.

Source: Xinhua

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1 China 39 14 14 67
2 USA 20 22 25 67
4 Great Britain 12 7 8 27
3 Australia 11 10 12 33
5 Germany 9 7 7 23
6 South Korea 8 9 5 22
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