China’s gold medal synchro partners went 1-2 individually in the men’s 3m final, led by Wang Zongyuan. China also won the men’s 10m synchro event to claim its fourth gold in four events in Budapest.
Men’s 3m Final
In the first final of the day, Wang Zongyuan led every round in the men’s 3-meter contest to win his second gold medal in Budapest. In claiming the individual springboard crown, he beat his winning 3-meter synchro partner, Cao Yuan, by 69.1 points to give China its eighth consecutive world title in the discipline.
Cao, the 2016 Olympic champion, now has back-to-back silver medals in the Men’s 3m event at the worlds.
Who would seize the bronze was anyone’s guess. The third-place position changed hands five times in five rounds. The real eye-popper came in round four when Britain’s Jack Laugher blew his 207C (a back 3½), dropped from third place to sixth, and still had to perform the two hardest dives of the competition. But Laugher tends to sharpen under pressure (which is why he saves those dives for the end). Tuesday was no exception. In round five, Laugher scored 91.2 points on a 109C (forward 4½) and added 97.5 more on his 5156B (forward 2½ with three twists) to earn his third world championship bronze medal in the individual springboard event.
Afterwards, Laugher analyzed his botched fourth dive, saying the takeoff was “just a bit too steep,” meaning too vertical, “and unfortunately just kicked too high.” Since he always watches the scores when he competes, Laugher was fully aware of what he had to do to make the podium. Although he succeeded, he wasn’t content.
“My expectations aren’t set on what colour medal I get,” Laugher, 27, said. “The expectation is set on the performance itself and the performance itself obviously is slightly underwhelming. But it’s the first competition of the year. Usually, this would be like a World Series or a Grand Prix. Unfortunately, those have been cancelled so… the biggest competition of the year is my first one.” Looking ahead, he said, “More stuff to learn and work on for next year and the following competitions.”
Wang, the 20-year-old gold medalist, said he won with “five good dives. The first two were great. The fifth… I missed.” Even so, China has now monopolized the men’s 3-meter world title at the world championship since 2007.
Colombia’s Luis Filipe Uribe Bermudez finished 15.15 points behind Laugher to place fourth.
Men’s 10m Synchro
In Tuesday’s second final, China once again decimated the field with consistency and precision to win its fourth consecutive title in the men’s 10m synchro event. Lian Junjie and Yang Hao earned top scores in each of six rounds to defeat Great Britain by 40.8 points. The Chinese pair also earned six perfect scores of 10 (three for execution, three for synchronization), but only one counted toward the winning tally (467.79).
“It’s not easy to win a final like this,” Yang said, “because it’s easy to make mistakes.”
The British pair included Matthew Lee who won the Olympic gold medal in this event in Tokyo last summer with Thomas Daley. Lee and his Budapest partner, Noah Williams, had a rocky first dive, but stayed in silver-medal position over the last five rounds to finish second with 427.71 points.
“I’m just really happy that we managed to put it together,” Lee said afterwards. “It’s our first world champs together, we’ve smashed it and I can’t wait for the next two years.”
Rylan Wiens, 20, and Nathan Zsombor-Murray, 19, claimed the bronze in just their second international event together.
“I can’t say we expected this, but we certainly hoped for it,” Zsombor-Murray said.
Before the final dive, the Canadians looked each other in the eyes, exchanged a fist bump and, at that moment, Wiens said, “I knew that we both knew exactly what we needed to do. We did a good last dive to secure the bronze. I compensated him and he did the same thing for me… and got the medal.”
The diving future looks extremely bright for Ukraine, too, as 15-year-old Kirill Boliukh and 16-year-old Oleksii Sereda showed elegance and precision to finish fourth despite having a lower degree of difficulty on several of their optional dives compared to the podium finishers.
Day 4 action on Wednesday will include three finals: the mixed team event followed by the Women’s 1m, and lastly, the Mixed 3m Synchro.