Four out of four for China

Kazan 2015 - DV

China maintained their stranglehold on the diving titles at the FINA World Championships when Xie Siyi won the men’s 1m springboard crown to make it four wins out of four for his country in Kazan. Xie broke the early challenge of Mexico’s Jorge Ocampo and swept serenely on to claim the first individual diving gold of the championships after the first three synchronised titles had also fallen to China.

Xie succeeded Li Shixin, world champion in 2011 and 2013 and the only man to have retained the title, but he had to work hard before eventually landing the gold by a handsome margin of over 36 points. Ocampo, 2013 world synchronised 3m bronze medallist, had led qualifiers in the preliminary round and held sway through the first three rounds of the six-dive final.

Xie Siyi (CHN) in action - Photo credit: Giorgio Scala/Deepbluemedia

But the Mexican faltered in the fourth round and dropped further adrift in the fifth, finishing outside the medals as Illya Kvasha of Ukraine and Mike Hixon of the United States came through for silver and bronze. Hixon was way down the field until the penultimate round, when he pulled up to fifth, but he kept the momentum going and overhauled Ukraine’s Oleg Kolodiy and Ocampo with a final high-scoring inward 2-1/2 somersaults which secured bronze by a tiny 0.95 points.

Xie won with 485.50 points, with Kvasha repeating his 1m silver medal of 2013 with 449.05 and Hixon claiming the bronze, the first US diving medal of the championships, with 428.30. Ocampo had to settle for fourth (427.35). Xie’s team-mate He Chao seemed to pose a threat at the halfway stage but failed to nail the rest of his dives and ended up a distant seventh.

China have failed to win the men's 1m event only three times, having triumphed in eight of 11 editions since it entered the World Championship progamme in 1991. Canada's Alexandre Despatie was the last non-Chinese winner in 2005.

Silver medallist Illya Kvasha (UKR) - Photo credit: Giorgio Scala/Deepbluemedia


Xie Siyi (CHN, gold):
"I did not expect to win the gold. It is my first World Championships, I thought a medal should be good for me because I have just turned to springboard for about six months".

"I was very nervous during the preliminaries and did not perform my best. Today I just showed my normal training form and felt more relaxed than in the heats. I was second after the first three dives but I was confident that I could come back in the second half of the competition".

"To be honest, my twist dive is not good and not stable as other experienced divers. That's why I put 5335D as my first dive".

"I was a platform diver who is good at 109C and 409C before I broke my right ankle in early 2014. I had to change to springboard due to the injury at the beginning of this year. I will try my best in my next mixed team event together with Olympic champion Chen Ruolin".