Great Birtain’s Jack Laugher started the year on high this weekend in Beijing, China, as the Olympic champion snatched the men’s 3m springboard on the inaugural rendezvous of the 2017 FINA/NVC Diving World Series.
However Laugher, 22, was the only diver to break the Chinese supremacy at this competition, preventing the leading and hosting nation golden sweep.
Jack Laugher took the lead from the beginning and beat two Chinese divers with 554.00 points, as Xie siyi won silver in 539.15 and Cao Yuan won bronze with 510.05.
Fresh from his great performance, Laugher said: “I’m very, very happy to dive here and I really enjoy this competition. This is a good start of the new season and I will keep training and preparing for the rest of the World Series and the FINA World Championships, my ultimate goal.”
“I am also looking for changes, for example, improving difficulty degree of my dives.” Laugher added.
Team China proved once more its excellence by grabbing nine gold medals out of ten, as well as four silver and a bronze medal.
Olympic title holder Chen Aisen took gold in the 10m (556.25) and added another gold to his tally with the 10m synchro (488.85) together with Yang Hao who came second in the 10m individual event. Tom Daley (GBR) completed the podium with 520.35.
Reflecting on a great final Chen said: “I have to say it was a real great showdown in the final that all of us performed very well,”
“I did not expect to win the title since I came back to training less than two months ago and I am now only about 50% to 60% compared to my best form. I will continue to take part in the next World Series meets and try my best to recover my techniques and peak form.”
In the women’s 3m springboard, Rio Olympic champion Shi Tingmao scored an excellent 391.05 points, securing the gold medal. Her teammate Chang Yani ranked second with 330.35 and Australian Maddison Keeney ranked third with 327.85.
Wang Han/Li Zheng won the mixed 3m synchro springboard title with stable dives, collecting a total of 323.10 points. They were followed by Maddison Keeney/Dominic Bedggood of Australia at 305.34 and Jennifer Abel/Francois Imbeau-Dulac of Canada with 304.74.
A total 68 international divers (31 men, 37 women) took part in the three-day event in Beijing.
The FINA/NVC Diving World Series is now heading to Guangzhou, China, for the second leg from March 9-11.