People’s Republic of China’s teenage duo win women’s synchronised 10m diving

Youngest pair seal victory in women’s synchronised 10m diving in Olympic debut, as the USA claims silver and Mexico bronze

Picture by 2021 Getty Images

At just 15, CHENG Yuxi is already a world champion along with her 17-year-old teammate ZHANG Jiaqi in the women’s 10m synchronised diving, and now they can add Olympic gold to their collection.

The youngest competitors in the event produced a series of stunning dives, everyone ranked first, to seal victory for the Republic of China at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre on 27 July. Their sublime inward 3.5 somersaults scored 86.40 from the judges.

It is the fifth straight victory for the country in women’s 10m synchronised swimming since it was introduced into the Games in Sydney 2000. It is also second gold in diving at Tokyo 2020.

Cheng and Zhang finished the competition on 363.78, which was more than 50 points ahead of nearest rivals, USA’s Jessica Parratto, 27, and Delaney Schnell on 310.80. Bronze was awarded to Mexico's Gabriela Agundez Garcia, 20, and Alejandra Orozco Loza, 24, on 299.70 points.

Cheng said after their win: “To be able to be here and earn the gold is pretty amazing with this partner. We’ve never had disagreements, we’ve worked together very well.”

To be able to be here and earn the gold is pretty amazing with this partner. We’ve never had disagreements, we’ve worked together very well.

Her partner, Zhang, was also positive: “She is a very open-minded and bright person. Very positive. I have so many things I can learn from her. Sometimes she has a much better attitude. Sometimes, if something doesn’t go my way, she helps me to really calm down, take perspective and overcome difficulties.”

On developing as they older, she added: “As we grow it’s okay for diving. But as we get older and get bigger, we have to make adjustments. You can’t dive in the same way as you used to as your body is changing. If you do you’re not going to make progress in the ways you need to, so that’s the challenge.”

Canada’s Meaghan Benfeito, 32, and Caeli McKay, 22, who were returning to the scene of their triumph as gold medal winners in the Diving World Cup earlier in the year, came fourth on 299.16 points.

The surprise result of the event was the 2019 World Championship silver medallists, Malaysia’s LEONG Mun Yee, 36, and PAMG Pandelela, 28, who also won silver in Rio 2016, had the lowest points out of the eight teams competing on 277.98. The rest were from Germany, Japan and Great Britain.

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