July 24, 2005

Hu rallies to give China 10-meter gold

By Steve Keating

MONTREAL (Reuters) - Olympic champion Hu Jia of China
nailed his final dive to win the 10 meter platform title at the
world championships on Saturday, giving a resurgent China their
second gold medal in as many days.

After leading through the first four dives, Hu appeared to
give the gold away with a woeful fifth attempt which scored
mostly 3.5s and 4.0s from the judges.

But he rebounded with a dazzling dive on his final effort
to score 9.0s across the board and finish with a winning total
of 698.01.

Jose Antonio Guerra Oliva earned Cuba their first medal in
Olympic or world championship competition by taking the silver
with 691.14, while Russia's Gleb Galperin completed the podium
securing the bronze with 656.19.

"I did my jump and was not paying too much attention," said
Hu. "I am very happy to win for the first time in the world

"My goal is to win the three biggest competitions and after
my world championship victory and the Olympics I have met two
of my goals."

Guerra also achieved a major milestone for Cuba with a
consistent performance but said he did not expect his historic
medal to change his life.

"I don't think (Cuban President Fidel) Castro will have
anything to do with my medal," said Guerra. "My life isn't
going to change a lot.

"My life in Cuba is very good, I don't live in luxury but I
live very well."

While Guerra's silver medal will be viewed as a huge
success in Cuba, China, already with 10 medals including four
golds, are not as easily satisfied.

After claiming six out of eight gold medals at the Athens
Olympics, Chinese divers were expected to dominate the world
championships but have found their road to the top blocked by
Canada and the United States.


China captured gold in the opening two events but did not
return to the top of the podium until a one-two finish in the
women's three-meter springboard on Friday.

The hosts of the 2008 Olympics will be expecting a big
finish on Sunday in the final two events -- the men's 10m and
women's 3m synchronised.

The open water competition concluded on Saturday with
Spain's David Meca, once banned for testing positive for
nandrolone, claiming gold in the men's 25km open water event.

Meca posted a winning time of 5 hours 21.4 seconds,
sprinting home just 2.2 seconds clear of Australia's Brendan

The Spaniard failed the drugs test at a World Cup meet in
1999 and had a two-year suspension reduced to one-year after
appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

He made a successful return to competition soon afterwards,
taking silver in the 25km and a bronze in the 10km event at the
2003 world championships.

Russia completed its domination of the synchronised
swimming events taking gold in the team competition.

Of the four synchronised gold medals on offer, Russia
scooped three. France's Virginie Dedieu preventing a sweep with
her victory in the solo event.