‘World coming after Chinese divers’

Newly-crowned Olympic diving champion David Boudia says the world is coming after China following his sensational upset of Chinese superstar Qiu Bo in a titanic 10m platform final on Saturday.

Boudia, 23, edged out the world champion and the 2011 FINA men's diver of the year, by just 1.80 points in the tightest victory in the event since American great Greg Louganis won the last of his four golds by 1.14 at the 1988 Seoul Games.

It was China's second defeat in the London competition leaving them with six of the eight golds and down on their seven from eight performances in Beijing four years ago.

Russian Ilya Zakharov's victory in the men's 3m springboard final had earlier ended China's quest for an unprecedented clean sweep of all eight diving golds in London.

Any diving victory over China is an accomplishment, but two in the one Olympic competition prompted suggestions that the Chinese dominance is waning.

"It just shows that the world is coming after China and they are all not that dominant any more," America's Boudia said.

"If Tom (Daley) and I can stop that in Rio (2016 Olympics) again I'm sure we would be happy with that."

Eighteen-year-old Daley, ecstatic to become Great Britain's first platform medallist in 52 years with his bronze, is encouraged for further successes against the Chinese.

"In Beijing the Chinese won seven out of the eight gold medals. Here they won six out of eight and who knows in Rio they won't win five out of eight.

"Diving is so unpredictable," he said.

British Diving's national performance director Alexei Evangulov said China were not used to being challenged in the diving pool.

"China did not show their best. Why? They are not used to competing when someone dives better than them," the Russian said.

"They have got used to being the best. If they see someone competing with them they start dropping. Even Qiu Bo, he's such an iron man in diving, (yet) some of his dives weren't his best."

Although Qiu, 19, tried to keep a lid on his disappointment at missing out on his first Olympic gold medal, his body language portrayed otherwise.

"Actually, I'm not that surprised because everybody has done a great job tonight and I'm just doing my best," Qiu said.

"I'm a little bit disappointed, but I am still pleased because this is my first Olympics and I got silver here.... I think it's good enough.

"The result today will not affect our plan for the future. I believe the Chinese diving team is the best. Nothing could challenge me, nothing could challenge the Chinese team. We are the strongest diving team.

"I am still young. I will be back in four years' time. I think that's the charm of the sporting competition. You never know who will win gold."

But the super-charged atmosphere inside the Aquatics Centre, whipped up by emotional British support for Daley, made it a pressure-cooker as the leading three divers entered the final round separated by just 0.15 points.

Daley went first scoring 90.75 for his lower degree of difficulty reverse two and a half somersault leaving the way open for Boudia and Qiu to snatch the gold.

Boudia held his nerve to execute a stunning back two-and-a-half somersault with two-and-a-half twists to pull off a winning 102.60 point dive.

Qiu, who look unchallengeable in the prelims and semi-final, could only come up with a 100.80 for the same dive.
Tellingly, all of Qiu's six dives were judged above 90, yet he missed out on gold to the inspired Boudia.

"The number of people (nine) who scored over 500 ---- and over 500 is a bit of a benchmark in the sport -- comfortably demonstrates the quality in the final was brilliant. It was one helluva final," Daley's coach Andy Banks said.

Boudia, who only scraped into the semi-finals in 18th place, finished with 568.65 points to shade Qiu (566.85) and Daley (556.95).

"To think 10 years ago I was petrified to jump off the 10m and now I'm an Olympic champion. It's crazy," Boudia said.

 

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