With diving into a third day of competition, it was time for medals to start
NAPOLI, 4 July — Shoulin Song of China opened the medal tally of the 30thSummer Universiade, as she and compatriot Chunting Wu dominated the women’s 1m springboard competition in the Mostra d’Oltremare pool. On a searing hot day, with a sizeable Chinese media contingent cheering them on, Song and Wu struck gold and silver, ahead of American Daria Tabea Lenz.
Despite two fancied Mexican Olympians in the fray – Carolina Hernandez and Dolores Monzon – it was the two Chinese divers that had set the standard in the preliminaries on Wednesday too, finishing first and second.
They kept up that form going into the finals, with Wu taking the lead in the first of five rounds with a score of 54.00. Daria Tabea Lenz stayed neck and neck with her, with an identical score as Song and Mendoza followed with scores of 50.40.
Through the next three rounds of dives, the lead went back and forth between Song, Wu, Lenz and Mendoza. It was in the last round that Song pulled off the real stunner. Trailing her teammate Wu by a narrow margin – 199.85 to 200.40 – she nailed her forward 2 ½ somersault dive to perfection eliciting a roar from the Chinese contingent. The 58.5 points she scored were more than enough to seal gold as despite Wu’s best efforts, she could only manage 55.90 in her last dive.
Song top-scored with a total of 258.35 after five dives to claim the gold, with Wu wrapping up a one-two finish for China. Lenz won bronze for America on their Independence Day.
“I am really excited to win the gold medal,” said a very composed Song after the competition. “I know the calibre of my teammates, so it was special to have competed with Wu for the gold.”
China’s Chengming Liu made it a second diving gold of the day for China, as he pulled off a series of near perfect dives to win the men’s 1m springboard title. Finishing with 399.00 points Liu finished 42 points ahead of his nearest rival, Germany’s Frithjof Seidel, who scored 357.75.
Gabriele Auber earned Italy’s first medal of the Universiade with a third-place finish, earning 356.20 points from his six dives.
Alejandra Estrella made up for the morning’s disappointment for Team Mexico, as she won gold in the women’s 10m platform competition. Her compatriots Carolina Hernandez and Dolores Monzon had missed out on the podium in the women’s 1m springboard event in the morning, but it was smooth sailing for Estrella.
Estrella finished a whole 46 points ahead of the next competitor, with a total of 327.65 points from her six dives.
Cho Eun-bi of South Korea took silver with 281.25 points and Britain’s Gemma Louise McArthur took bronze, scoring 267.95 points.
Having already won gold in the men’s 1m springboard, Chengming Liu doubled it up by winning the men’s 3m springboard final as well. It was a much harder fight for this medal though, as he had to climb back up the standings after being in eighth position following the second round of dives. With strong dives in the last three rounds and an especially astounding last dive, Liu totaled 421.20 to finish on top.
Jaegyeong Yi of South Korea won the silver medal, ahead of Russian Ilia Molchanov who also came from behind to finish with a flourish, ending with 409.65 points.
Diving competition continues tomorrow with the men’s 10m platform synchronised event and also the mixed team 3m springboard synchronised preliminaries and finals. More Chinese divers will surely be seeking gold and today’s gold medallist Shoulin Song will be cheering them on from the stands as she is not entered in any other diving events.
“This evening, I will celebrate with my team,” she added, referring to her gold medal, the first of the Universiade.