China leads 3-meter diving after semifinals

Updated: 07 August 2012 17:52 IST

China is back in command at the Olympic diving pool.He Chong took the lead in the men's 3-meter springboard semifinals on Tuesday to put his country in position for its sixth diving gold medal of the London Games.

China leads 3-meter diving after semifinals
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London:

China is back in command at the Olympic diving pool.

He Chong took the lead in the men's 3-meter springboard semifinals on Tuesday to put his country in position for its sixth diving gold medal of the London Games.

He totaled 510.15 points during the six rounds after starting the semifinals in second place behind Ilya Zakharov of Russia.

"My performance is just so-so," He said. "I still have room to improve for the final because I can do much better in training. I especially hope I can have less splash."

Zakharov fell to ninth midway through the round and rallied to finish second at 505.60.

He's teammate, Qin Kai, was third at 500.35.

"I did just so-so," he said. "I was upset because I slipped during the preliminary, so I only wanted to make it into the final."

Yahel Castillo of Mexico was fourth and four-time Olympian Troy Dumais of the U.S. was fifth.

The top 12 advanced to the evening final, where China will try to win its sixth diving gold and move closer to sweeping all eight events.

For the first time since diving began, a Chinese wasn't atop the scoreboard in the preliminaries on Monday. After several pratfalls and two divers scoring zeros on dives a night earlier, the competition toughened up. Chris Colwill of the U.S. was the only one who failed a dive in the semifinals.

Dumais was second after the opening round as he tries to win an individual medal for the first time after earning a bronze in the 3-meter synchro.

"It's possible," he said. "I left a lot of points out there. I got to clean up all my entries like I know I can do, be in rhythm with the board, and I'll be right in the mix."

Alexandre Despatie of Canada, a two-time silver medalist in the event, was eighth. Chris Mears of Britain got the loudest cheers from the home crowd, delighted that he moved on in ninth.

"That was the best performance of my life, in front of a home crowd, just when it mattered," he said. "Now I can say I'm an Olympic finalist. I can't believe it."

Three years ago, Mears was given a 5 percent chance to survive after his spleen ruptured. He had a seizure that lasted seven hours and put him in a coma for three days.

"I've had a hard time," he said, "and to be stood up there representing my country and to do a performance like that is absolutely amazing."

Evgeny Kuznetsov of Russia, who earlier won a silver medal in synchronized 3-meter with Zakharov, failed to make the final in 14th.

Colwill, a two-time Olympian, got as high as ninth before botching his last two dives. He finished last among the 18 semifinalists with 170.35.

"Instead of going with the aggressive attitude, I told myself not to do something, which you should never do," he said. "Just played it too safe."

Colwill appeared well on his way to making the final when he didn't come out of his tuck on an inward 3 1/2 somersault tuck quickly enough. He smacked the water and got scores from 2.5 to 3.0 for his fifth dive.

"I just kind of zoned out. I stood on the board for too long," he said. "It was a freak accident and just happened at the wrong time."

Knowing he was out of contention heading into his last and toughest dive - a reverse 3 1/2 somersault tuck - Colwill thought to himself go big or go home.

"I went with the attitude of 100 points or no points, and I guess I got the no points," he said.

Topics : Diving Olympics 2012
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