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China leads FINA worlds with 1st open-water swimming gold, dominance in diving

2019-07-16 11:35:00 Xinhuanet

GWANGJU, South Korea, July 14 (Xinhua) -- The team of China took the lead in the 18th FINA World Championships here on Sunday, with the first open-water swimming gold and the continued dominance in diving.

Chinese swimmer Xin Xin claimed the first gold medal for China in the women's 10km open water swimming, going down in history as she was the first-ever swimmer in Asia to reach the world championships podium in open water swimming.

Xin finished the race in one hour 54 minutes and 47.20 seconds, just 0.90 second ahead of Haley Anderson of the United States who took the silver in 1:54:48.10. Rachele Bruni of Italy came away with bronze in 1:54:49.90.

The 22-year-old, who broke the Asian record in the women's 800m freestyle at the 2013 National Games in Liaoning, China, finished fourth in the 10km open-water marathon at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

Xin secured the first ticket among 64 contestants for the 10km open-water marathon at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Japan. The 10km marathon swimming debuted at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

"It was my dream to become a world champion. It was my great honor to raise our national flag and listen to the national anthem on top of the podium," said Xin dressed in her teammate's awarding clothes as she did not prepare for the out-of-the-blue crown.

"Maybe I should bring my awarding suit all the time. I believe that I can swim better and better in the future," Xin smiled.

Prevailing in diving led by teenage athletes, China won all the two titles at stake after snatching the first three golds on offer the previous day.

Chinese teenager Wang Zongyuan snapped up the gold in the men's 1m springboard diving, making a perfect debut at the world swimming championships.

The 17-year-old, a pace setter in the preliminary, suffered a rusty start with a tied third place in his first dive, down to 5th place in the second attempt and 7th in the third.

Wang came back from behind in the fourth round, moving up to the second. He led the last two dives, collecting a total of 440.25 points for the crown.

Rommel Pacheco Marrufo of Mexico took the silver in 420.15, and defending champion Peng Jianfeng of China got the bronze in 415.00.

Chinese tandem Zhang Jiaqi/Lu Wei, aged 15 and 13, added another diving gold in the women's 10m synchronized platform in 345.24 points, leading the game from the beginning to the end.

Mun Yee Leong/Pandelela Pamg of Malaysia scored 312.72 to win the silver, and Samantha Bromberg/Katrina Young of the United States took the bronze in 304.86.

Adding a silver to China's medal table, Chinese artistic swimming duo Sun Wenyan/Huang Xuechen finished second with 94.0072 points in the women's duet technical event.

That was 1.8938 behind reigning world champion Svetlana Kolesnichenko/Svetlana Romashina of Russia, who ranked first in 95.9010. Anastasiya Savchuk/Marta Fiedina of Ukraine got the bronze in 92.5847.

With the additional three golds, one silver and one bronze, China remained atop the medal table with a total of 6 golds, one silver and one bronze. It was followed by Russia with two golds and one silver.

Russia was in the lead of artistic swimming as the defending champion placed first in the women's team technical heats at 96.2253 points. China and Ukraine followed with scores of 94.3638 and 93.3313 each.

In the women's water polo preliminary round, China nailed a victory over Japan 8-6 in the Group D match. Chinese athletes will fight against Australia on Tuesday and against Italy on Thursday for the tournament.

Hosts South Korea was blasted by Hungry 64-0 in the preliminary round, recording the largest margin in water polo history at the world championships. South Korea received a spot in the tournament as the host nation, but its first-ever women's water polo team was hastily formed about a month ago.

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