China’s top divers qualify for Paris Olympics at national championship
Published: Nov 24, 2023 08:53 AM Updated: Nov 24, 2023 08:38 AM
Chen Yuxi wins gold at the national diving tournament in March. Photo: Chen Xia/GT

Chen Yuxi wins gold at the national diving tournament in March. Photo: Chen Xia/GT

China’s elite diving athletes Wang Zongyuan and Chen Yuxi have secured spots for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games after winning gold at the national diving championship on Wednesday in Wuhan, Central China’s Hubei Province.

Over 200 divers are competing at the annual event that will last till Tuesday. An analyst told the Global Times on Thursday that the championship, which serves as one of the three-leg qualifiers for the Paris Olympic Games, will help the national team to find some new diamonds in the rough.

China’s new diving talisman, 20-year-old Wang, ranked first in each of the six rounds in the final to triumph during the 3-meter springboard while two-time Olympic medalist Chen edged out Olympic champion Quan Hongchan to win gold during the 10-meter platform.

According to the point-based qualification for the Paris Olympic Games diving events announced by the Chinese Swimming Association, there are three legs of qualifiers, namely the national diving tournament in March, the ongoing national diving championship and the World Aquatics Championships to be held in Doha, Qatar in February 2024. 

The two best rankings out of the three legs of a diver are translated into points. The top four athletes with the most points in a single event will be selected into the Olympic roster.

Wang and Chen, who also won gold at the national tournament in March, have thus secured their berths for the Olympic Games.

“The victory shows that my training and hard work have paid off. I take every competition seriously, and hopefully I can do my best in every competition. However, I was not at my best during the preliminaries and made some mistakes,” said Chen, who lost to Quan in October’s Hangzhou Asian Games. 

“While the top divers are vying for spots for the Olympics, the national event also provides an opportunity for younger talents to make their mark. Jiang Linjing is a big surprise in the highly competitive 10-meter platform,” Liu Yu, a Beijing-based sports commentator, told the Global Times on Thursday.

Jiang Linjing, a 13-year-old diver from South China’s Guangdong Province, managed to finish third behind Olympic champions Chen and Quan.  

“They [Chen and Quan] are my idols. They were consistent in their dives and rarely make mistakes. I’m doing okay in training, but I tend to get nervous in big events,” said Jiang, who tried the 307C dive, one of the most difficult dives, for the first time in the competition. 

Eyes will be focused on the men’s 10-meter platform final on Saturday as this is the only event in which China failed to win gold at July’s World Aquatics Championship in Fukuoka, Japan. 

China swept 11 out of 12 golds on offer at the world championship and Australia’s Cassiel Rousseau upset China’s Lian Junjie and Yang Hao in a roller-coaster 10-meter platform final. 

Women’s 3-meter springboard will also take place on Saturday. 

In order to inspire athletes to innovate and take on challenging dives, the event has introduced special awards recognizing both the difficulty and groundbreaking achievements.