Silver lining for runner-up in wedding proposal

Qin Kai is set to plunge into marriage with fellow diver and fiancee He Zi, after he presented her with an engagement ring following the medal presentation for the 3m springboard final. The pair have been dating for six years. In the medal stakes, sh
Qin Kai is set to plunge into marriage with fellow diver and fiancee He Zi, after he presented her with an engagement ring following the medal presentation for the 3m springboard final. The pair have been dating for six years. In the medal stakes, she returns home slightly ahead with a silver as Qin and partner Cao Yuan endured a disappointing Games.PHOTO: REUTERS

RIO DE JANEIRO • Shi Tingmao claimed gold for China in the women's 3m springboard diving final on Sunday, but was relegated to third wheel by newly engaged team-mates He Zi and Qin Kai.

Qin, 30, bronze medallist in the men's 3m synchronised springboard with Cao Yuan, got down on one knee while silver medallist He was on her lap of honour and, after a lengthy wait, finally got the all-important "yes" he was looking for.

"He said a lot of things, made a lot of promises, but I think the thing that touched me the most is I think this is the guy I can trust for the rest of my life," said He, 25, proudly displaying her shiny new ring.

He and Qin have been dating since 2010, and while being caught off-guard, she admitted she nearly rumbled his plan as Qin got in some proposal practice on Sunday morning.

"This morning in his room he was reciting something and I didn't notice (what it was). I asked him and he said he was singing," added He, who also won silver in London four years ago.

"I didn't know he was practising the proposal."

Shi was more in the loop as she had the inside track on Qin's plans.

"Both of them have gone through a lot. It is a very special moment for them," said the champion, who delivered her second gold of the Games after teaming up with Wu Minxia in the 3m synchronised springboard for her first.

At the Maria Lenk Aquatics Centre, Shi tied with He in the first two dives, before the 24-year-old pushed ahead in her third to achieve 84 points - the highest score of the competition - and eventually scored a total of 406.05, 18.15 points ahead of He.

Italy's Tania Cagnotto (372.80), in her final competition, claimed bronze with a performance she likened to winning gold, given the Chinese dominance of diving.

The 31-year-old also claimed silver, with Francesca Dallape, in the 3m synchronised springboard.

The dramatic post-competition events also took some of the heat off organisers, as the final was again played out in a murky green pool, because of a hydrogen peroxide mix-up. The water in the adjacent synchronised swimming pool had been pumped out and replaced overnight.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 16, 2016, with the headline 'Silver lining for runner-up in wedding proposal'. Print Edition | Subscribe