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China adds another diving gold



Published: Sat, July 23, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Jose Antonio Guerra earned Cuba's first medal.

MONTREAL (AP) -- The Chinese finished in their usual top spot at the diving pool.

The surprise? Cuba was second, earning its first medal of any kind at the World Swimming Championships.

Olympic champion Hu Jia won the 10-meter platform title Saturday, giving China its fourth diving gold medal and equaling its gold haul at the world meet two years ago.

"I'm very happy because it is the first time I win a world championship," Hu said.

He rallied to win on his last dive, a backward 21/2 somersault with 11/2 twists, and finished with 698.01 points.

"I wasn't paying too much attention, so I made a small mistake," Hu said.

Cuba's Jose Antonio Guerra earned silver with 691.14. The Communist nation has never won any diving medals at the Olympics, either.

"This is very important for my country," he said. "Montreal brings me a lot of luck because I won here in 2000 and 2001 [at World Cup meets]."

Gleb Galperin of Russia rose from sixth to third on his last dive, taking the bronze with 656.19.

"I was taken off guard completely by winning," Galperin said. "I was not following the scores."

Off the podium

Hu's teammate, Yang Jinghui, was seventh. He was in contention for the bronze until he botched his fourth dive.

"I was quite nervous," Yang said. "I'm not very happy."

Bryan Nickson, a 15-year-old from Malaysia, was ninth among 12 finalists in his first world championships. He was a fan favorite at the Athens Olympics, where he was 19th on the platform.

"I thought I could do better," he said. "Having the crowd behind me made me a bit nervous, but it was also motivating."

The Chinese have won medals in all eight diving events so far, with two remaining.

China led the overall medal standings with four golds and 10 medals. Russia and the United States were tied for second with three golds. The United States and Germany have six medals total.

After leading through the first four rounds, Hu dropped from first to second on his next-to-last dive, a reverse tuck 31/2 somersault. He over-rotated and created a huge splash, getting marks ranging from 3.5 to 5.5.

But he impressed the judges with his final dive, earning all 9.0s to win by nearly seven points.

Alexandre Despatie of Canada, a two-time gold medalist at the meet, didn't defend his title because of a back injury that prevented him from training on platform.

Other events

David Meca of Spain won the gold medal in the men's 25-kilometer open water swimming race. He finished in 5 hours, 21.4 seconds.

Brendan Capell of Australia earned the silver in 5:00.23.6. Petar Stoychev of Bulgaria took the bronze in 5:00.28.4.

In women's water polo, Hungary, the United States, Germany, Russia, Italy, Canada, Greece and Australia advanced to Monday's quarterfinals.

Facing elimination, the Americans defeated Cuba 14-3 Saturday, getting three goals each from Brenda Villa and Moriah Van Norman.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.




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