14-year-old Si grabs gold in 10-meters

Updated: 2013-07-26 07:44


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14-year-old Si grabs gold in 10-meters

China's Si Yajie poses with her gold medal at the women's 10m platform victory ceremony during the World Swimming Championships at the Montjuic municipal pool in Barcelona July 25, 2013. [Photo/Agencies]

BARCELONA, Spain - Chinese 14-year-old Si Yajie and two-time Olympic gold medalist Chen Ruolin ran away with the gold and silver medals in the women's 10-meter platform at the world championships on Thursday.

The final quickly became a duel between the two Chinese divers, making sure that the world's pre-eminent diving power collected its sixth gold in seven events at the scenic Montjuic Municipal pool.

Si became world champion in the youngster's first major international competition, while 2011 world champion Chen settled for silver to go with her gold in the 10-meter synchronized she won on Monday with Liu Huixia.

Si ended with 392.15 points for her five dives, while Chen had 388.70. Ukraine's Iuliia Prokopchuk claimed the bronze with 358.40.

This was the 21-year-old Chen's eighth career medal at a world championship to go with her four Olympic golds. All have come in either the 10-meter platform individual or synchronized events.

Si joined her local diving team at the age of seven and has competed on the Grand Prix circuit since 2011. She had shown signs of being ready to compete for a medal after finishing the semifinals in third place.

Regardless, Chen was the favorite given both her outstanding medal record and her strong winning form here in Spain.

It was clear from the start that barring a major bobble from Chen or Si the title was going to come down to one of the two.

Chen and Si performed the same dive program and they both nailed their first three dives for identical scores each time to open up a gaping 42-point lead over the other 10 finalists.

After matching one another blow for blow, Si went ahead for good when Chen couldn't straighten out on a backward tuck with three-and-a-half somersaults on her fourth effort.

Si then executed a backward pike with two-and-a-half somersaults with one-and-a-half twists to seal the win over her more experienced countrywoman.

On Friday China looks poised to add yet another gold after 2007 champion Qin Kai and two-time reigning champion He Chong led Thursday's semifinal in the men's 3-meter springboard.

Qin and He already paired up to win the men's 3-meter synchronized springboard title on Tuesday, and the duo appears set to battle for the individual gold after Olympic champion Ilia Zakharov of Russia failed to advance to the final of 12.

Qin led the semifinal with 493.65 points through six dives, while He totaled 483.15.

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