China to dominate Diving – London Olympics 2012
China will bid to go one better than four years ago and claim all the medals in the Olympic Games Diving pool over the next fortnight as events begin in the Aquatics Centre.
At Beijing 2008, only Matthew Mitcham denied them a home clean sweep after the Australian upset the odds to win in the men’s 10m Platform.
It is in the same event that China face the toughest test to win all eight gold medals on offer – a feat they managed at last year’s World Championships.
World champion Qiu Bo is the man to beat on the highest board but he faces stiff competition from GB hopeful Tom Daley, who is set to be spurred on by a 17,500-strong crowd at the Aquatics Centre.
Daley enters the Games in career-best form after being crowned World Series and European champion in the past six months, while he has also twice improved his personal best to cut the gap behind first-time Olympian Bo.
While the 18-year-old still believes he is fighting for silver behind Bo, Daley hinted that his experience of competing in Beijing could prove a decisive factor.
‘Normally in Diving, silver is gold because the Chinese dominate everything,’ said Daley, who beat Bo to win the world title in 2009. ‘But you never know what can happen in the Olympic Games.’
Competition begins on Sunday when Wu Minxia will bid to equal fellow Chinese Guo Jingjing’s Olympic Games record of six Diving medals.
Wu will aim for a hat-trick of successes in the women’s 3m Synchro alongside He Zi, before they will go head-to-head next week in the individual event.
Canada’s Emilie Heymans looks to be their biggest threat as she aims to become the first woman to win a medal at four consecutive Games.
Chen Ruolin is being tipped to defend her individual and synchro platform Olympic titles after also claiming both world crowns last year in Shanghai.
In the men’s competitions, He Chong and Qin Kai are expected to continue the dominance on the springboard but it is in the 10m Platform where China’s hopes of a perfect record are most vulnerable.
In the synchro competition, which takes place on Monday, teenage first-time Olympians Zhang Yanquan and Cao Yuan will bid to fend off a strong field.
The duo did not compete at last year’s World Championships to offer hopes for the likes of runners-up Patrick Hausding and Sacha Klein, from Germany, while Daley will team up with 2004 Olympic silver medallist Pete Waterfield.
The Diving competition will then finish on the penultimate day of the Games with the much-anticipated clash between Bo and Daley set to be further enhanced by the recently-returned Mitcham, who has been sidelined by injury for the past couple of years.