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Diving preview: Chinese divers Qin and He eager to maintain winning tradition
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15:04, August 17, 2008

Springboard specialists Qin Kai and He Chong are expected to maintain Chinese winning tradition in the men's three-meter springboard, as Chinese were victorious in this event at the three previous Olympic Games.

Qin and He are definitely favorites on Monday's preliminary.

A total of 29 divers will compete in the preliminary starting on Monday night, qualifying 18 into the semifinal, and afterwards, sending 12 into the final battle.

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

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

The Chinese may receive challenges from Canadian golden boy Alexandre Despatie, silver medalist of the event in 2004 Athens Olympics, who eyes a gold in Beijing.

Despatie, also silver medalist in 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 and this hampered his training schedule toward the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

Also on the start list of Monday's preliminary is Russian "diving czar" Dmitry Sautin, who just claimed a silver in the synchro springboard. The Beijing Olympic Games is Sautin's fifth and last Olympic Games.

Mexico's Yahel Castillo might also be an arch rival 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, which has a difficulty degree of 3.9.

Source: Xinhua

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