DOHA, Qatar (AP) — China added to its gold medal haul with two more victories at the World Aquatics Championships on Thursday.
Lian Junjie and Yang Hao won their third straight world title in synchronized 10-meter platform diving, while twins Wang Liuyi and Wang Qianyi claimed a narrow victory in the duet free routine of artistic swimming.
Also Thursday, Australia edged Italy in a thrilling mixed 4x1,500-meter open water race at Doha Old Port.
With the Paris Olympics only five months away, it was impossible not to look ahead a bit.
“I can’t deny that we are already thinking of the gold medal at the Paris Olympic Games," Wang Liuyi said. “A journalist showed me the 2024 Olympic Games gold medal and it is really beautiful. I want to make it mine.”
Lian and Yang gave China's powerhouse diving team its seventh gold medal in 10 events at the Hamad Aquatic Centre. They led after all six rounds to finish with 470.76 points.
With everyone else basically diving for second, Tom Daley and Noah Williams of Britain claimed the silver with 422.37. The bronze went to Oleksii Sereda and Kirill Boliukh of Ukraine at 406.47.
Lian and Yang sealed the victory with their highest-scoring dive of the competition in the final round. Spinning in perfect sync on a forward 4½ somersaults in the tuck position, they barely made a splash as they sliced through the water in tandem. The duo received a pair of 10s and nothing lower than a 9.0 from the judges.
“Almost all of the Chinese divers have finished their events and they were standing ... at the tribune cheering for us tonight, which is a good thing," Yang said. "But at the same time it made us a little anxious. It added some extra pressure on us.”
The 27-year-old Wang sisters earned gold at the Aspire Dome with 250.7729 points, edging another set of twins, Bregje and Noortje de Brouwer of the Netherlands, at 250.4979. The bronze went to Britain's Kate Shortman and Isabelle Thorpe with 247.2626.
The Chinese stars have each won four gold medals in Doha. They also paired up to claim the top spot in duet technical routine, and were both members of the Chinese squad that claimed gold in team acrobatic and team technical.
The silver medalists also have their sights on Paris.
“It definitely is the best day of our sporting career,” Bregje de Brouwer said. “What comes next? The Olympic Games, of course. We will be there and you never know what’s going to happen.”
Overall, China has 12 gold medals in 24 events through the first week of the 17-day championships, the first to be held in the Middle East.
Australia's team of Moesha Johnson, Chelsea Gubecka, Nicholas Sloman and Kyle Lee captured the open water gold in 1 hour, 3 minutes, 28 seconds — only 0.20 seconds ahead of the Italian squad.
In the hectic sprint to the finish, Lee moved up on Domenico Acerenza's hip and shoulder before sliding inside and swiping the pad just ahead of the Italian swimmer in a photo finish that took several minutes before the results were confirmed.
“I just tried to stay calm and it is so hectic in that finishing chute,” Lee said. "I guess I got lucky on the touch.”
The other members of the silver medal-winning team were Giulia Gabbrielleschi, Arianna Bridi and Domenico Acerenza.
The Hungarian squad of Bettina Fábián, Mira Szimcsák, Dávid Betlehem and Kristóf Rasovszky settled for bronze in 1:04:06.80.
It was the first open water gold medal for Australia at the worlds since Melissa Gorman won the women's 5K at Rome in 2009.
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