Olympics: Winds help knock Chinese world diving champion out in preliminaries

China's He Chao competes in the Men's 3m Springboard Preliminary during the diving event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games on August 15.
China's He Chao competes in the Men's 3m Springboard Preliminary during the diving event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games on August 15.PHOTO: AFP

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Strong winds wobbled and shook up the routines of the male divers competing in the individual 3m 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. We didn't train in these kinds of very windy conditions before at all," said He, younger brother of 2008 Olympic diving champion He Chong. "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 anymore, but I am still only thinking about that."

Unlike diving venues at the previous two Olympics, the Maria Lenk Aquatics Centre is open air and is exposed to the changing weather in Brazil's winter season.

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 semis.

The wind failed to unnerve China's Cao Yuan who finished first out of the 29 divers with 498.70 points. He won a bronze medal in the synchronised 3m springboard event last week.

Russia's Evgenii Kuznetsov, who finished fourth, said the wind was "horrendous" and it was hard to dive for all athletes.

"The wind really distracted me. It kept blowing me sideways. 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 for not enough wind and the women's for because there was too much.