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Diving, Women's Finals, Day 2

Five Olympic golds for Chen and three Rio diving titles out of three for China

Rio de Janeiro. 9 August 2016. Source: FINA. Derek Parr, FINA Media Committee Member from Great Britain. (IKKOSPORTS) - Chen Ruolin swung away with her fifth Olympic gold medal to match the record tally in diving when she partnered Liu Huixia to victory in the women's synchronised 10m on Tuesday, her third triumph in the event since she began her illustrious Olympic career at 14 at the 2008 Beijing Games. Chen thus matched team-mate Wu Minxia, who claimed her fifth Olympic gold two days earlier when she won the 3m synchro with Shi Tingmao, and it took China's diving title tally in Rio to three out of three in three days, the men's synchronised 10m having also gone their way.

World champions Chen and Liu wavered from perfection in the penultimate round but their rivals failed to take advantage and the favourites made no mistake in the fifth and final series and won by almost 10 points from Malaysia's Jun Hoong Cheong and Pandelela Rinong Pamg. Chen scored double gold in the individual 3m and 3m synchro at the 2008 and 2012 Games, Liu now her third Olympic partner after Wang Xin (2008) and Wang Hao (2012). The introduction of the synchronised competitions in 2000 doubled the number of diving events at the Olympics, naturally providing greater opportunity for multiple medal success such as that achieved by Chen and Wu.

World individual platform champion Kim Kuk-hyang and synchro partner Kim Mi-rae had looked set to win a first-ever Olympic aquatics medal for North Korea (PRK) but fluffed their last dive and opened the way for their rivals. Canada's Meaghan Benfeito and Roseline Filion then leapfrogged from fifth into the bronze-medal position, with Tonia Couch and Lois Toulson of Great Britain - just ahead of the Canadians in the previous round - left with an unexpected chance of a podium place with the last dive of the day. Sadly for the British pair it was not to be, their last effort pitching them down to fifth, behind the North Koreans, instead of the bronze of their dreams.

After two days of grey skies and cold conditions, the sun shone brightly to give a hot start to the afternoon's competition in the Maria Lenk Aquatics Centre. But the turn in the weather did not herald a turn in the destination of Olympic gold. It all looked promising for the North Korean pair as they moved up from sixth in the first round to fourth in the second and second in the third. They dropped to third in the penultimate round when the more consistent Malaysian pair overtook them but they still looked good for a medal, only to see their hopes dashed at the last.

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea won their first world championship diving medals at the 2015 FINA Worlds in Kazan, Russia, with Kim Kuk-hyang scoring a shock victory over the Chinese favourites in the women's individual platform after Kim Un-hyang and Song Nam-hyang had claimed bronze in the synchronised 10m event. Instead it was experienced Canadians Benfeito and Filion, silver medallists at the 2013 and 2015 Worlds, who stepped up for their second consecutive Olympic bronze medals in the event.

Chen and Liu, world champions in 2013 and 2015, compiled 354.00 points for gold from their five dives, with Cheong and Pamg claiming silver for Malaysia with 344.34 and Benfeito and Filion bronze for Canada with 336.18. Mexico's Paola Espinosa and Alejandra Orozco, silver medallists at the last Olympics in London, slipped out of medal contention early on and finished sixth on 304.08.

QUOTES

Chen Ruolin (CHN), gold, women's 10m synchro:

Comparison with Wu Minxia: "Wu Minxia is my personal idol and I've always tried to follow her footsteps. But honestly, during the competition I rather focus on my execution and movements. We fought very hard for this medal".

"This particular cycle has been very challenging, due to some injuries. When you are injured, there is a huge influence in training. Great thanks to the team and team leaders. Everyone says that things are easy for us, but there are countless hours of preparation and training behind our preparation."

Liu Huixia (CHN), gold, women's 10m synchro:

"I feel very happy and emotional. Going on vacation is a big 'if' at the moment. In the days to come, I will cheer my teammates. Then, I still haven't thought in returning home. It's difficult to have a break in this team."

On Chen Ruolin: "She is awesome, her execution tends to be flawless and she helps me a lot during training."

Pandelela Rinong (MAS), silver, women's 10m synchro:

"We don't think so much in the medal. We are just focused on repeating what we are doing during training."

Meaghan Benfeito (CAN), bronze, women's 10m synchro:

"We were very concentrated all the way through. We were prepared to get a medal but you never know until the end if this is possible. Our lats dive went very well and we managed to beat the Koreans. This medal is even more important than in 2012, as we have lived very challenging moments during these four years."

Last competition with Filion, after 11 years: "We have made many great things together. Yesterday, I was speaking to my sister and she recalled me that this would be the last competition with Roseline. I tried not to think too much about this. 'After our final', I told her. Roseline is a great person and we will be connected all our lives."

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