Chinese kid Wang Zongyuan came out on top in the preliminary competition for the men’s 3 metre springboard diving on Monday, while German veteran and three-time Olympic medalist Patrick Hausding was eliminated after a string of poor dives.
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At the end of the first round, 19-year-old Wang was in third place, but after an almost perfect second dive, he surged above his competitors and stayed there until the end, eventually finishing with 531.30 points.
Xie Siyi, Wang’s countryman and the reigning world champion, finished second with 520.90, while Mexico’s Rommel Pacheco Marrufo rounded out the top three competitors heading into the semi-finals.
The young diver Wang and his partner Xie won the synchronised event gold medal last week, putting him in position to become the first man diver since 2000 to win in both categories.
Despite a remarkable fifth dive that scored 91.20 points, bronze medalist in the 3m springboard event at Rio 2016 and in the synchronised event at Tokyo with Lars Ruediger, Timo Hausding, was penalised for a false start on his third dive and could not recover.
After carrying the German flag in the opening ceremony, Olympic hopeful Hausding was eliminated after a disappointing sixth dive left him ranked 21st.
To quote the critics: “Today’s performance was quite disappointing. I just don’t know how to put it into words. Before I failed the first time, I was in a great mood and not at all anxious. The 32-year-old man said, “I can’t find the right words.”
I’ve never faced anything even close to that level of competition before. Which leaves me at a loss for words. I’m just in a really gloomy mood.
However, Martin Wolfram, a countryman of Hausding’s, made the cut by finishing in eighth place.
Among the top 18 finishers was Ken Terauchi, a 40-year-old Japanese diver and the oldest competitor in the event. Laugher and Heatly, both from Great Britain, placed fourth and sixth, respectively.
Laugher, a two-time Olympic medalist, expressed relief in advancing to the knockout stage. He had a difficult run-up to the Games.
Throughout the Olympic, “you witness a lot of strong dives and veteran divers crashing out this afternoon,” he said.
“It’s been a really unusual year, with very little time to prepare for these Olympic Games and a great deal of pressure coming from many directions.
So, I’m overjoyed to have made it this far, and I’m planning to take my good form into tomorrow’s final and give it my all.
The preliminary competition had 29 divers from 20 countries, including the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC).
Twelve of the best male divers will compete in the finals on Tuesday, when the competition resumes.