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Budapest World Championships: China back in charge with two more diving titles

Qian Ren and Yajie Si of China compete in the final of the Women's 10m Synchro Platform during day three of the 2017 FINA World Championship on July 16, 2017 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

BUDAPEST, July 17, 2017 - China reasserted their supremacy on the diving boards with victories in both finals on Day 3 of the Budapest World Championships to take their golden tally to three and soften the blow of two defeats the previous day.

Peng Jianfeng narrowly won the menís 1m final from team-mate He Chao and Italyís Giovanni Tocci, while Ren Qian claimed her second gold in the Duna Arena, winning the womenís 10m synchro with Si Yajie a day after claiming Chinaís first title of the championships with Lian Junjie in the mixed 10m synchro.

Day 2 had ended with two defeats, Australiaís Maddison Keeney winning the womenís 1m and Evgeny Kuznetsov and Ilia Zakharov of Russia the menís synchronised 3m final.

China won 10 of the 13 titles at the last edition of the world championships in Kazan in 2015.

Womenís 10m synchro

Olympic champion Ren Qian captured her second gold medal in two days when she partnered former world champion Si Yajie to victory in the womenís synchronised 10m final, prevailing over pairs from DPR Korea and Malaysia, who collected silver and bronze respectively.

Sixteen-year-old Ren, who won the individual platform crown at the 2016 Rio Olympics, had claimed her first Budapest gold medal alongside Lian Junjie in the mixed 10m synchro, the first diving event of the programme.

Ren and Si, the 2013 individual platform world champion at 14, stretched ahead of their closest rivals in the last two rounds of the five-dive final to win by just over 16 points from North Koreans Kim Min-rae and Kim Kuk-hyang.

Kim Kuk-hyang beat Ren to the 10m gold at the 2015 Worlds in Kazan for her nationís first-ever aquatics world title. For Kim Min-rae this was her second Budapest medal, following a bronze in the mixed 10m synchro with Hyon Il-myong.

Malaysiaís Jun Hoong Cheong and Pandelela Pamg, the Olympic silver medallists, matched the Chinese pair in the first round and narrowly led them in the second, performing consistently to claim the bronze.

Ren and Si notched an aggregate 352.56 points from their five dives, with the DPR Korea duo second on 336.48 and the Malaysians third on 328.74.

Canadaís Meaghan Benfeito, who bagged world silver in 2013 and 2015 as well as 2016 Olympic bronze alongside Roseline Filion, could not quite add to her medal hoard, finishing fourth on 315.78 with new partner Caeli McKay.

Men's 1m

Peng Jianfeng and He Chao scored a one-two victory in what ultimately turned into a close battle in the menís 1m springboard final to bring China their second diving title of the 17th FINA World Championships.

Peng appeared to be heading for a clearcut win as he led by 34 points from He Chao with two dives to go. But he faltered in the penultimate round and in the end less than five points separated the top three as Italyís Giovanni Tocci hurled down a powerful challenge to the leading pair with his last dive.

He Chao, the 3m world champion in 2015, edged past the 22-year-old Italian, who had been outside the top three for the first five rounds, leaving Peng Ė diving last but still with a 10-point lead Ė with one dive to decide it. Pengís forward 2-1/2 somersaults with twist was not his best but it was just enough for gold. Peng won with a six-dive aggregate of 448.40 points, with He Chao taking the silver on 447.20 and Tocci the bronze on 444.25.

It marked a gratifying return to the podium for 25-year-old He Chao after Olympic disappointment last year when he failed to qualify from the preliminary round of the 3m event. And it brought China back to customary winning ways after defeats in the womenís 1m (won by Australiaís Maddison Keeney) and menís 3m synchro (Russiaís Evgeny Kuznetsov and Ilia Zakharov) on Day 2 when Ren Qian and Lian Junjie scored the sole Chinese win in the mixed 10m synchro.

China have now won the menís 1m world title nine times out of 12, including the six most recent editions.

The last non-Chinese winner was Canadaís Alexandre Despatie in 2005. Germanyís Patrick Hausding, Olympic 3m bronze medallist at the 2016 Rio Games, had been in the top three throughout the first five rounds but the 28-year-old European 1m silver medallist could not withstand Tocciís challenge and finished fourth, five points adrift of the Italian.

European champion Illya Kvasha of Ukraine, 1m silver medallist at the last two world championships, failed to make the final after a botched second dive in the preliminary round. Kvasha, however, gained consolation on Day 2 when he shared bronze with Oleg Kolodiy in the menís synchronised 3m final. Kolodiy finished sixth in the 1m final.

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