Chang Yani upsets two-time world champion Chen for diving gold at worlds

Two-time Olympian Suji Kim of South Korea earned the bronze medal

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Chang Yani of China competes during the women's 3m springboard diving final at the World Aquatics Championships in Doha, Qatar. - AP
Chang Yani of China competes during the women's 3m springboard diving final at the World Aquatics Championships in Doha, Qatar. - AP

Published: Sat 10 Feb 2024, 5:08 PM

Chang Yani topped teammate Chen Yiwen on the 3-meter springboard Friday, giving the powerhouse Chinese team its eighth diving gold medal of the World Aquatics Championships.

Chen was the two-time reigning world champion and led the semifinals, giving her the prime last spot in the final. But Chang turned in five stellar dives and led all the way to finish with 354.75 points, with Chen settling for the silver at 336.60.

The bronze went to South Korea’s Kim Suji at 311.25. Maddison Keeney of Australia and Sarah Bacon of the United States finished fourth and fifth, respectively.

Afterwards, the new 3m world champion, Chang, said her victory, “means a lot to me. I am honored, but after every competition, there is a new start. Now I need to work harder towards the Olympics.”

China also added to its big haul in artistic swimming, capturing the team free title for its sixth gold of the championships.

Chang and Chen will be the heavy favorites to battle for springboard gold at this year's Paris Olympics — an event the Chinese haven't lost since the 1984 Los Angeles Games. The duo also captured the synchronized 3-meter title in Doha.

Gold medallist China's Yani Chang celebrates winning the women's 3m springboard final alongside silver medallist China's Yiwen Chen and bronze medallist South Korea’s Suji Kim. - Reuters
Gold medallist China's Yani Chang celebrates winning the women's 3m springboard final alongside silver medallist China's Yiwen Chen and bronze medallist South Korea’s Suji Kim. - Reuters

China has won all but three diving events in Doha — two of those it did not enter — and will head to Paris as overwhelming favorites to extend one of the greatest dynasties in Olympic sports.

Beginning with their emergence in 1984, the Chinese have won 47 of 72 diving gold medals. Since the Olympic program doubled from four to eight events in 2000, they have been even more dominant — 38 gold medals in 48 events.

One thing the Chinese haven't done is take the top spot in all eight diving events at a single Olympics. They've claimed seven golds three times, including at the Tokyo Games in 2021, and will be looking for their first clean sweep in Paris.

The final two diving events will be held Saturday at the Hamad Aquatic Centre. Artistic swimming will also wrap up at the Aspire Dome with the last of 11 events — mixed duet free — before the pool gives way to the high-profile swimming competition on Sunday.

China captured the team free with 339.7604 points. Japan earned the silver at 315.2229, while the United States claimed the bronze with 304.9021.

The Americans added to the bronze they won in team acrobatic routine.

China has claimed 14 gold medals in 26 events through eight days of the first world championships to be held in the Middle East.


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