Shi Tingmao bags gold number eight for China

Kazan 2015 - DV

Shi Tingmao won her second gold medal of the FINA World Championships when she led a Chinese one-two with defending champion He Zi in the women’s 3m springboard to bring China their eighth title of 11 contested at Kazan’s Aquatics Palace, with two finals still to come.

Shi, who had already retained the 3m synchro world crown with Wu Minxia, shared the lead with He in the first of the five rounds but then edged ahead of her team-mate as other challengers faded. Canada’s Olympic 3m synchro bronze medallist Jennifer Abel, who had gathered Kazan silver in the 3m synchro, was their most persistent rival, never out of the top three until she blew her final dive and dropped from third to sixth. That let in Tania Cagnotto for the bronze. The 30-year-old Italian had won the 1m title ahead of Shi and He to deny China gold for the first time in Kazan. She shot up from fifth to third to win her fourth 3m bronze medal in the last six World Championships.

Shi, the World Cup champion, and He, the Olympic 3m synchro gold medallist and individual silver medallist, were, however, not going to let the gold go this time. Shi, 1m world champion in 2011, had led the way in the semi-final round and was over 10 points ahead of He going into the final series, with Abel a further 10 points adrift. After Abel fluffed her last dive, He finished strongly but Shi was far enough ahead to win despite a slightly lower score than her team-mate on the same concluding forward 2-1/2 somersaults with one twist. Shi claimed gold with 383.55 points, with 2013 champion He repeating her silver of 2011 on 377.45, having won medals but lost her world titles in both the 1m and 3m events in Kazan. Cagnotto was in no position to challenge the top two but was good for bronze with an aggregate of 356.15. This took her world championship tally to one gold, three silvers and five bronzes. There were two-point penalties in the final for both Maddison Keeney (AUS) and Olena Fedorova (UKR) for each taking two attempts at a dive after stopping on the board and going back the first time.

Shi Tingmao (CHN), 3m springboard world champion - Photo credit: Giorgio Scala/Deepbluemedia

It was China's eighth successive win in the event at the Worlds, following Guo Jingjing's unique set of five and the victories of her successors – Wu Minxia, He Zi and, now, Shi Tingmao. The last non-Chinese winner was Yulia Pakhalina of Russia in 1998.


Shi Tingmao (CHN, gold):
“I was a little bit nervous today because it was my first time I competed in the individual 3m springboard. To be honest, I did not perform my best and none of my dives were perfect. My performance was not as good as the one I had in the semi-finals. I did not expect to win the gold medal. I just kept thinking about the details of my combinations. As everyone is now tired, I wish to have a good rest since I finished all my events. I will keep my current dives with the same degree of difficulty while improving their height and making them more perfect”.

He Zi (CHN, silver): “I performed my best and I am happy about that. I would like to congratulate Shi Tingmao and Tania. Shi and I have different styles and I need to learn from her the secret of her clean entries”.

Tania Cagnotto (ITA, bronze):
“I’m really happy with this result. I didn't expect to get the bronze medal today. I thought I would need more points to reach the podium, honestly. Because I’m really happy for the 1m competition [where she won the gold], I felt a bit calmer than usual. The Canadian missed the last dive, so I was able to take the bronze medal”.

“I think the secret of my motivation is first of all the passion I have for this sport. Every year, I have new dreams in front of me and I try to reach the goals I have. This is my last World Championship, so I want to do all events and I’m really so happy with what I have done until now with a gold and a bronze medal. I didn't expect this”.

He (CHN, silver), Shi (CHN, gold) and Cagnotto (ITA, bronze) - Photo credit: Giorgio Scala/Deepbluemedia