Hu Jia dazzles to gold

Hu Jia dazzles to gold
By Reuters

24/07/2005 at 09:43Updated

Olympic champion Hu Jia of China nailed his final dive to win the 10 metre platform title at the world championships on Saturday, giving a resurgent China their second gold medal in as many days.

After leading through the first four dives, Hu appeared to give the gold away with a woeful fifth attempt which scored mostly 3.5s and 4.0s from the judges.

But he rebounded with a dazzling dive on his final effort to score 9.0s across the board and finish with a winning total of 698.01.

Jose Antonio Guerra Oliva earned Cuba their first medal in Olympic or world championship competition by taking the silver with 691.14, while Russia's Gleb Galperin completed the podium securing the bronze with 656.19.

"I did my jump and was not paying too much attention," said Hu. "I am very happy to win for the first time in the world championships.

"My goal is to win the three biggest competitions and after my world championship victory and the Olympics I have met two of my goals."

Guerra also achieved a major milestone for Cuba with a consistent performance but said he did not expect his historic medal to change his life.

"I don't think (Cuban President Fidel) Castro will have anything to do with my medal," said Guerra. "My life isn't going to change a lot.

"My life in Cuba is very good, I don't live in luxury but I live very well."

While Guerra's silver medal will be viewed as a huge success in Cuba, China, already with 10 medals including four golds, are not as easily satisfied.

After claiming six out of eight gold medals at the Athens Olympics, Chinese divers were expected to dominate the world championships but have found their road to the top blocked by Canada and the United States.

BIG FINISH

China captured gold in the opening two events but did not return to the top of the podium until a one-two finish in the women's three-metre springboard on Friday.

The hosts of the 2008 Olympics will be expecting a big finish on Sunday in the final two events -- the men's 10m and women's 3m synchronised.

The open water competition concluded on Saturday with Spain's David Meca, once banned for testing positive for nandrolone, claiming gold in the men's 25km open water event.

Meca posted a winning time of 5 hours 21.4 seconds, sprinting home just 2.2 seconds clear of Australia's Brendan Capell.

The Spaniard failed the drugs test at a World Cup meet in 1999 and had a two-year suspension reduced to one-year after appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

He made a successful return to competition soon afterwards, taking silver in the 25km and a bronze in the 10km event at the 2003 world championships.

Russia completed its domination of the synchronised swimming events taking gold in the team competition.

Of the four synchronised gold medals on offer, Russia scooped three. France's Virginie Dedieu preventing a sweep with her victory in the solo event.

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