Diving disrupted as winds cause sub-par scores

He Chao of China.
He Chao of China. PHOTO: REUTERS

RIO DE JANEIRO • Strong winds played havoc with the routines of the male divers competing in the individual three-metre springboard event on Monday, leaving many with sub-50 point dives and even knocking world champion He Chao of China out in the preliminaries.

He, who won gold at last year's world championships, scored only 51.00 points on his second dive and 27.75 points on his third, before eventually finishing 21st with 380.35 points. The top 18 divers move on from the preliminaries to the semi-finals.

"It was the wind that really affected the start of my dive," said He. "We didn't train in these kinds of very windy conditions before at all.

"I feel very disappointed about this outcome... I trained so hard and so long to get good results at my first Olympic Games, but now I am not sure what I will do next. I have some thoughts about not training any more," he added.

Unlike diving venues at the previous two Olympics, the Maria Lenk Aquatics Centre is open-air and is exposed to the weather.

Other low scores from the afternoon included the final dive by Malaysia's Ahmad Amsyar Azman, awarded 9.75 points, and Australian Grant Nel's second attempt which was given 27.20 points though he eventually managed to reach the semi-finals.

The wind failed to unnerve China's Cao Yuan, who finished first out of the 29 divers with 498.70 points.

Russia's Evgenii Kuznetsov, who finished fourth on 449.90, said the wind was "horrendous" and it was hard for all competitors.

"The wind really distracted me. When you're in a state of flight, a strong gust of wind can take you sideways and then it becomes very hard to dive."

The weather also caused cancellations in the Olympic medal races in the men's Laser and women's Laser Radial single-person dinghy classes - the men's because there was not enough wind and the women's as there was too much.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 17, 2016, with the headline 'Diving disrupted as winds cause sub-par scores'. Print Edition | Subscribe