Fifth 10m synchro gold in a row for Chen Ruolin (CHN)

Kazan 2015 - DV

Olympic champion Chen Ruolin claimed her fifth successive world 10m synchro gold medal and continued China’s sweep of Kazan diving titles with the nation’s fifth in five events at the FINA World Championships. Chen and Liu Huixia, her partner at the last Worlds in Barcelona in 2013 and her fourth in all, led all the way and held off the consistent challenge of Canadians Meaghan Benfeito and Roseline Filion to win by some 20 points. North Korea claimed their first medal in any of the aquatic disciplines in the 42-year history of the World Championships as Kim Un-hyang and Song Nam-hyang gained a well-earned bronze.

The Chinese winners in action - Photo credit: Giorgio Scala/Deepbluemedia

Liu competed with a bandage on her right shoulder but whatever discomfort she may have felt did not seem to affect her performance.  Chen, still only 22 yet with so much experience behind her, and 17-year-old Liu compiled a total of 359.52 points in the five-dive final, with Benfeito and Filion, bronze medallists at the 2012 Olympics, settling for silver, as they did at the 2013 Worlds in Barcelona, with 339.99. Kim and Song held their nerve, while seasoned rivals, including Malaysia's Pandelela Rinong Pamg and Mun Yee Leong, world bronze medallists in 2009 and 2013, fell by the wayside. The North Koreans finished on 325.26 points, almost 15 points ahead of experienced fourth-placed Mexicans Paola Espinosa and Alejandra Orozco.

Chen, twice double Olympic champion in 10m individual and synchro, lost her place in China’s line-up for the individual 10m for Kazan but she could not be denied gold in the Aquatics Palace. Chen, who won the world 10m individual title in 2011 amid silvers in 2007, 2009 and 2013, has now collected six World Championship gold medals. China has won the women's 10m synchro title eight times in succession at the World Championships, only the first in 1998 eluding them.

The medallists in the women's 10m platform synchro - Photo credit: Giorgio Scala/Deepbluemedia


Chen Ruolin (CHN, gold):
“We are very, very glad that this is the best competition performance we had in the last two years. I did not think about winning the title in a row, because the process is always more important than the results. You should do your best during daily training and should not think too much about the outcome”.

“For me, the most difficult time was to qualify for the Chinese team participating in these World Championships. I had some problems in our National Trials. During the preparation training camp before the Worlds, I trained very hard and wasn’t able to move a lot. But I improved my entry during the one month hard training. All my efforts have paid off as today I took a good control of my entries which were my weak point since I got older”.

Liu Huixia (CHN, gold): “Because of my right shoulder injury, I even doubted that I could not compete in these world championships. Thanks to my coach Ren Shaofen and team leader, and to all the doctors' help, I could recover in time and make the team. My shoulder still hurts now, but I didn’t feel the pain during the competition. Both of us overcame our difficulties and performed our best in the final. This result, gives us a lot of confidence to fight for a place in the Olympics during our National Trials”.

Meaghan Benfeito (CAN, silver): "Today was a very good day for us. We arrived here as silver medallists at the 2013 Barcelona World Championships. We had very high expectations to be on the podium again, a silver medal as well, but the main thing we wanted was a qualification spot for Canada at the Rio Olympics next year, and we achieve this tonight. We also made a great result, better than we did in London 2012 and we got a bronze medal there, so doing better than the Olympics is definately what we want for next year and to be better prepared for the Olympics".

(About the bronze medal for North Korea)
: "It was really good for Korea to show up here and really dive well. They did very well with dives at Olympic level with amazing points. For sure it was a great moment for them; we never underestimate any contenders from any country".

Roseline Filion (CAN, silver): (About introducing new dives for the Olympic Games) "No. The list is hard enough the way it is. We have a back three half somersault dive, with a dificult degree even higher than the Chinese, but I think we have been doing this for 10 years now and I think that we must try to do it always better".