Happy 14th birthday! China’s teen divers take the cake
China’s Zhang Minjie and Zhang Jiaqi are the youngest gold medallists at the 2018 Asian Games
Two 14-year-old divers from China became the youngest gold medallists at the 2018 Asian Games when they romped to victory in the women’s synchronised 10 metre platform on Tuesday.
Zhang Jiaqi and Zhang Minjie — fresh from a win at the Wuhan World Cup event in June — tumbled into a commanding lead from their exquisite opening dive and never looked threatened, securing the top spot with 361.38.
Victory was the icing on the cake for Zhang Minjie, who was celebrating her 14th birthday on Tuesday.
Behind the terrific teens came North Korean duo Kim Kuk Hyang and Kim Mi Rae — who placed fourth in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio — on 337.86.
Malaysian pair Leong Mun Yee and Nur Dhabitah Sabri bagged the bronze with 310.80.
Zhang Jiaqi, ranked five in the world, and world number nine Zhang Minjie showed no hint of nerves as they rolled out a spectacular back two-and-a-half somersaults and one-and-a-half twists in the fifth and final round to clinch the gold.
Exiting the pool and even wiping their faces in perfect synchronisation, there was no smile — just a conspiratorial whisper from Zhang Jiaqi, nicknamed “Little Fu Mingzia” after the Chinese diving great, into the ear of her team-mate.
The Chinese also reigned supreme in the men’s synchronised three metre springboard, grabbing gold ahead of South Korea in second and Japan in third.
Cao Yuan, 23, and Xie Siyi, 22, were greeted by a roar from the spellbound crowd as they came up for air from their final dive — a forward four-and-a-half somersaults — to confirm their top-spot finish.
It was the fourth Asian Games medal for Cao, a keen piano player and Olympic champion in the individual three metre springboard, as well as the synchronised 10 metre platform.
Xie is the 2017 world champion in the individual three metre springboard.
The victories continued China’s perfect streak in both the women’s synchronised 10 metre platform and the men’s three metre synchronised springboard.
They have won five golds on the five occasions each event has been held.
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