China bid for dive sweep alive, Malaysia pair win historic silver

Chen Ruolin
Chen Ruolin
Pandelela Rinong
Pandelela Rinong

RIO DE JANEIRO • Chen Ruolin and Liu Huixia won the women's 10m synchronised diving competition on Tuesday, taking the impressive Chinese squad to three-for-three in their bid to sweep all eight diving gold medals.

The victory was a record fifth career Olympic gold medal for Chen in the sport, tying the mark set by team-mate Wu Minxia.

On Sunday, the 30-year-old veteran Wu became the first to reach the five-gold milestone by taking the women's 3m synchronised springboard with Shi Tingmao, passing legends like American Greg Louganis and former Chinese springboard star Guo Jingjing.

Chen paid tribute to the senior Wu as her "idol."

"I know she won five gold medals and that is very, very incredible. But to be honest I haven't thought much about that," Chen said.

"All of us have tried very hard in our training and we have won our medals because of our dedication."

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    Olympic gold for Chen Ruolin, equalling the most golds won by a diver, set by compatriot Wu Minxia. 

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    Olympic medals won by Malaysian diver Pandelela Rinong. She won a bronze in 2012, and clinched a silver with Cheong Jun Hoong on Tuesday.

The Chinese fought off a spirited challenge from Malaysian silver medallists Pandelela Rinong and Cheong Jun Hoong, while Canada's Meaghan Benfeito and Roseline Filion replicated their London 2012 bronze-winning feat.

With typical Chinese grace and muscular precision, Chen and Liu held on to a slim early lead to finish on 354.00 points, just 9.44 points clear of the Malaysians.

It was a three-peat gold in the event for Chen, who won with different partners in Beijing and London.

She also ruled the individual 10m platform at those Games, but is not entered for Rio.

The cheerful Chen was coy, however, on whether she would retire or compete in future Games.

"If I were to retire - if - I would cheer on those that come after me, but I haven't really thought that far ahead," she said.

No team has swept all eight men's and women's golds since the number of medals doubled at Sydney 2000 with the addition of synchronised events.

China fell one gold shy in 2008, and two short in London.

Malaysia's finish marked the best-ever by women from the country. Pandelela won an individual bronze in 2012, the first medal by a Malaysian woman.

Today, China's Qin Kai will go for his third straight men's synchronised 3m springboard title with Cao Yuan, gold medallist in the 10m synchronised event in 2012.

The diving ends on the Games' penultimate day with its most anticipated contest, the men's 10m individual platform.

China's reigning world champ Qiu Bo will look to avenge his upset loss in London to American David Boudia that left him with silver.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 11, 2016, with the headline 'China bid for dive sweep alive, Malaysia pair win historic silver'. Print Edition | Subscribe