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Eight from eight in diving for Chinese

21 January 2007

China have finished with all eight diving gold medals on offer at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival after winning both the men’s and women’s synchronised ten metre platform events at the Sydney Aquatic Centre.

The Chinese men’s team of Li Teng and Ying Hong both claimed their second medals of the competition, scoring 328.32 points with extraordinary dives that at times lacked synchronisation but barely varied from the text book example.

Behind the Chinese, the British pair dived superbly, with Callum Johnstone picking up his second silver of the meet with his partner 12-year-old Thomas Daley.

Johnstone, 16, was extremely pleased with his results during the Festival.

“I was really happy with my performance today. I made a little bit of a mistake on the reverse dive - that happens sometimes, but after my medal in the 3m synchro, it’s a great result,” he said.

Thrilled about the silver medal and his form off the 10m platform, pint-sized Daley was still pinching himself about the fact that he was competing at the AYOF.

“It’s just amazing to be competing at the Youth Olympics at the age of 12 when you are meant to 14, it’s been a real thrill,” Daley said.

The Malaysian pairing took out the bronze.

In the women’s 10m synchronised, China’s Jiang Lishuang and Liu Herui secured the final gold in the diving competition in front of the Australian pairing of Olivia Wright and Natasha Cocker.

Wright took her second silver in as many days, having finished second in the 3m synchronised platform with Rhiannan Iffland on Saturday.

Despite the flickering of minor medal wins from the British, Australians and Malaysians, the Festival’s diving competition was highlighted by outstanding precision from the young Chinese squad.

After winning 13 of the 24 medals on offer, the Chinese have offered a preview of what divers will be up against when they compete in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

Joe Bromham

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