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Chinese divers expect big performance at Rio Olympics


03-13-2016 16:08 BJT

Full coverage: 2016 Rio Olympics

China turned out to be the biggest winner in the men's springboard, claiming gold in both the synchronised and singles event. But in the event packed with world's best athletes, they know there are more improvements to make if they want to be successful again in Rio.

Qin and Cao came back to Beijing after suffering major setbacks in last month's FINA World Cup. Competing at the venue that will be used in the upcoming Olympics, the Chinese pair came one short of gold to clinch a silver which meant that China missed out on a first podium finish in the synchronised event for an 11th straight time. Despite the disappointment, they believe there is still plenty to be positive about.

"Our problems were exposed in Rio and I don't think it's been a bad thing for us. The environment in Rio is different from here so we feel lucky we still have time to adjust to it. It will push us to do better and we'll remain confident," Qin said.

For Cao Yuan, the silver medal in the World Cup proved to be the highlight. In the singles event in Rio, he only managed a 19th finish in the preliminaries which ruled him out for the semi-finals. The 21-year-old was able to bounce back and quickly this time to came out on top in Beijing. With the Olympics just around the corner the win will certainly boost moral.

"It was a learning experience for me. My coach and I worked hard after the World Cup. All the people around me are helping. I think their efforts have been paid back," Cao said.

Claiming the silver in the men's springboard was He Chao and competing with a fever, he was able to overcome his ill health score 95 points in the last dive.

The Chinese also had a diffiult time in Rio, finishing sixth in the same event. With five months until the global showcase in Brazil, the 24-year-old says he still needs more opportunities to find the best form.

"We all worked hard. For us, not winning the gold means we need to push ourselves even more. The second place and third place are the same. The only goal for me is the gold medal," said He Chao, 3M springboard silver medalist.

The unsatisfactory results in the World Cup sent alarm bells ringing for China's 3-meter springboard athletes. In addition to improving themselves, they're also facing fierce competition from the others who are catching up rapidly and not much time left before the biggest test.

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