The Chinese pair of Chen Ruolin and Liu Huixia eased to victory in Monday’s world championship final of the women’s 10m synchronised platform in Barcelona.
Canadians Meaghan Benfeito and Roseline Filion claimed silver in a dramatic finish as they produced a fine final dive to edge out the Malaysian pair of Pandelela Rinong Pamg and Mun Yee Leong by less than three tenths of a point.
The 20-year-old Chen now has a remarkable nine gold medals to her name having also won the 10 metre synchronised and individual platform events at the 2008 and last year Olympic Games and the world championships on home soil in 2011, as well as synchronised gold at the 2007 and 2009 world championships.
Chen had previously been partnered by Wang Hao for her most recent golds in London and Shanghai. However, Liu proved a capable replacement as the pair took a comfortable six point lead after their first dive and their superiority was never threatened on their way to recording a tally of 356.28 points.
“Our coach often tells us: when you step down from the podium, you start again from zero,” a delighted Chen said afterwards.
“The experience is important, but it is not enough to get a medal - you have to continue working hard.
“In 2007, when I got my first gold in this event with Tong Jia, we were a very new duet. Today, pairing with Liu is an entire new experience: she is very young, but at the same time very strong and quite adaptable.”
And Chen could even add to her medal collection in the Catalan capital later this week as she goes in the individual 10m platform event which begins on Wednesday.
Behind the Chinese duo meanwhile there was a fierce fight for the silver and bronze medals as Pamg and Leong looked set to improve on their bronze from the world championships in Rome four years ago for the majority of the competition.
The Asians were in second at the end of each of the first four rounds of dives, but a spectacular final attempt from Benfeito and Filion pushed them into second by the smallest of margins on 331.41 to Pang and Leong’s 331.14.