Superstar Fu beaten by partner

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 04 June, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 04 June, 2000, 12:00am

THREE-TIME Olympic champion Fu Mingxia suffered her fifth defeat to teammate Guo Jingjing this year at the FINA Grand Prix diving meet last night and went on to say that the teenage star was the favourite to win the gold at the Sydney Games.

Guo continued her dominance over the 21-year-old diving celebrity in the three-metre springboard event, edging Fu by 5.46 points to win with 639.18 points at the Kowloon Park indoor pool. Australia's Chantelle Michell came a distant third.

In the men's 10-metre platform, China's Tian Liang captured the title while Britain's Leon Taylor and Australia's Robert Newbery took silver and bronze respectively.

Fu, who is also Guo's synchronised diving partner for the Olympics, failed to narrow the record between them following losses in previous Grand Prix meets and April's National Championships.

'Her level has already surpassed mine. She's only 19 but she is better than me in terms of difficulties and consistency,' said Fu, who was referring to the fact Guo had one difficult dive more than her yesterday.

'I could have done better in one or two dives but my performance tonight was already close to my best. She has a good chance to win the gold in Sydney,' Fu, who made a comeback from retirement last year, said.

However, Guo, who won the one-metre springboard on Friday, insisted that Fu was still her biggest threat at the Olympics.

'We're at the same level. Whether I can beat her in Sydney depends on how I can improve in the last three months of training,' Guo said.

Fu said the synchronised diving - included in the Olympics for the first time - remained her top priority.

'I want to ensure that we win the gold in the synchronised event for China. I'll also be happy if [Guo] beats me in the individual event,' Fu said.