USA Diving News Chen and Wang lead 1...

Chen and Wang lead 10-meter platform prelims

Aug. 20, 2008, 10:02 a.m. (ET)

BEIJING (AP) Teenage divers Chen Ruolin and Wang Xin led the standings in preliminaries for the 10-meter platform at the Water Cube on Wednesday in the one diving event China did not win at the previous two Olympics.

China has already won the opening six diving events of these games, and is going for a clean sweep of all eight golds.

Chen received two perfect 10s on his final dive, a back 2 1/2 somersault with 1 1/2 twists, executing slightly better than Wang, who closed with the same dive.

"The last dive was my best one," Chen said. "I felt some pressure during the performance, but I tried to tell myself that it was training, not a competition."

Chen led with 428.80 points, Wang was second with 420.30 and Emilie Heymans of Canada qualified third with 403.85 before a near capacity crowd.

The top 18 finishers qualified for Thursday's semifinals.

The 15-year-old Chen is ranked No. 1 in this event after winning gold at the Beijing World Cup event earlier this year. Sixteen-year-old Wang, the thinner of the two, is the reigning world champion but is ranked No. 2, having failed to win a major international event this season.

"My throat has some problem, so I cannot speak," Wang said. "I don't know why. It happened two days ago."

Chen and Wang won the synchronized platform event last week.

Heymans had the top-rated opening dive. The 2003 world champion, she won a silver and a bronze in synchronized platform at the previous two Olympics but is seeking her first individual medal.

Alexandra Croak, an Australian who competed in artistic gymnastics at the 2000 Sydney Games and took up diving in 2003, qualified fourth.

Attempting to avoid a second straight shutout in the diving medals for the United States, Laura Wilkinson was fifth after completing the second-best dive of the opening round.

Wilkinson won this event in Sydney and the Americans have not won a medal in diving since. The 30-year-old plans to retire after these games.

Chantelle Newbery, the Australian who won this event at the 2004 Athens Games, did not qualify this year.