CHINESE PAIR WIN WOMEN’S 10 METRE SYNCHRONISED DIVING AS CHEN MAINTAINS 10-YEAR GOLDEN STREAK
CHINA’S CHEN RUOLIN AND LIU HUIXIA CLAIMED GOLD MEDAL IN THE WOMEN’S SYNCHRONISED 10 METRE PLATFORM DIVING ON 9 AUGUST IN RIO, AS DUOS FROM MALAYSIA AND CANADA TOOK THE SILVER AND BRONZE.
Incredibly, Chen, who is competing at her third Games, has won every major title in the synchronised 10m platform event since 2006, and she took her overall tally of Olympic golds to five. That puts her on a par with compatriot Wu Minxia for the title of most Olympic diving gold medals in a career.
The Chinese duo failed to achieve the top score in their third and fourth dives but managed to come back strongly in the final round, and they both broke into huge grins, hugging one another as they saw their total score of 354.00 points flash up on the board.
Despite managing a flawless record over the last decade, Chen revealed that she had found the going tough in recent times due to the physical exertions that her sport requires of her, and had even considered ending her career.
“Over the past two years, I have struggled a lot and it has not been easy,” she admitted. “I have even thought about quitting the sport altogether, but in the end I’m still here.
“Diving has really taken a toll on my body. I had to go through a lot of conditioning to get back to how I felt before. And now, it’s like all of the pressure is gone, and I’m very relieved.”
Chen was fulsome in her praise of her younger partner, Liu Huixia, who is making her Olympic debut in Rio. “I think that she is doing very well,” said the veteran of her rookie partner. “Especially since this is her first Olympics. It’s normal for her to be nervous, but she still did very well.”
Meanwhile, shock silver medallists Cheong Jun Hoong and Pandelela Rinong delivered Malaysia’s first medal of the 2016 Games with a score of 344.34. Rinong was both surprised and delighted with their performance.
“I never thought that we could win the silver medal today because the competition is very tough and all of the divers of other countries are very, very good,” said the Malaysian. “We started to warm up and after that we found our footing.”
Canada’s Meaghan Benfeito and Roseline Filion overtook highly fancied North Korean teenagers Kim Kuk Hyang and Kim Mi Rae with their final dive to secure the third spot on the podium with a tally of 336.18 points.