Tomoaki Tasaka, FINA Press Correspondent in Japan

The first day of the opening leg of FINA/CNSG Diving World Series 2019 in Sagamihara (JPN) displayed an outstanding domination from the Chinese team, with the Asian powerhouse pocketing all the four gold medals at stake.

In the women’s 10m platform synchro, 14-year-old Zhang Jiaqi, who is the gold medallist in the same event at the 2018 Asian Games, paired with Lu Wei for China’s first success, earning gold in 340.44 points.

The DPR Korea duet - Photo credit: Hiroyuki Nakamura

They showed the spectators their outstanding performance from the first and second dives on and eventually had a lead of 20.94 points over PRK’s duet in second place.

"We are happy to win but there are things to improve. We still need to fine-tune our technique. Even though we had a short time to train together, we have now learned more and have more experience competing with other divers", Zhang said.

In the men's 10m platform synchro, the duet formed by Chen Aisen, who won the same event at the 17th FINA World Championships, and Cao Yuan, who was the 3m springboard World Series champion last year, won the competition in 465.24.

At the Fuji leg last year, Chen was injured in his arm, but confessed he was in a much better condition in 2019. "I think it is a very nice venue. As for my dives, I could perform them well and I am happy with this result. Having had an injury, now I can't excuse myself for it. I have to go for it", Chen considered.

The women's 3m synchro - Photo credit: Hiroyuki Nakamura

In the women’s 3m springboard synchro, Chinese Wang Han paired with Shi Tingmao. Shi has won numerous medals at international events since the 2010 Asian Games and triumphed once more in Sagamihara, with a total of 330.00 points.

While Canada's pair Jennifer Abel and Melissa Citrini Beaulieu performed strong to earn silver (302.97), Maddison Keeney and Anabelle Smith of Australia ranked third in 301.83.

"I am very happy and satisfied with this result. We had some small mistakes, but the last three dives were pretty good. I will keep working hard for the women's 3m individual event", Shi said.

China's Cao Yuan and Xie Siyi also appeared in excellent shape, winning the gold medal in the men's 3m synchro springboard in 446.82. It was Cao’s second gold medal of the day. “I am happy and satisfied with this result. The hard training for this competition paid off and I felt more relaxed than in the morning’s event”, Cao admitted.

The Mexican pair - Photo credit: Hiroyuki Nakamura

The silver medal went to Mexico’s Jahir Ocampo and Rommel Pacheco, who concluded the final in 427.86, relatively close to the Chinese pair.

At the opening ceremony held before the evening session, FINA Bureau Member and Liaison Zhou Jihong (CHN) expressed her gratitude and appreciation to the organisers of this leg. In addition, Mr. Toshio Katayama, Mayor of Sagamihara, also welcomed all participants in his city. "I hope that this leg will be exciting", he wished.