LONDON - China's Chen Ruolin looked strongly placed to defend her Olympic platform title after a series of peerless dives in the women's semi-finals on Thursday.
Chen, 19, appeared on track for her fourth overall gold medal at the Olympics in Thursday night's final, after she topped the morning semi-final with 407.25 points from her five dives. The Chinese star finished 47.35 points ahead of her nearest rival Meaghan Benfeito of Canada (359.90), but was critical of her performance. "It was so-so. There were some dives that were not perfect, some entries that were not perfect," Chen said. Chen's topscoring dive was in the final round with 84.80 for a back two and half somersault with one and a half twists and a 3.2 degree of difficulty. She also scored 84.15 for a back three and half somersault with tuck and 83.20 for an inward three and a half somersault.
Chen, who won the individual and synchronised events as a 15-year-old at Beijing four years ago, has been unchallenged so far in the prelims and semi-final of the platform event. She is bidding for China's sixth gold diving medal in London after Chinese pair Qin Kai and defending champion He Chong were conquered by Russian Ilya Zakharov in Tuesday's 3m springboard ending their nation's hopes of sweeping all eight golds. "It's encouraging me more (the loss of the men's springboard gold medal). I'm taking my competition even more seriously," Chen said.
Chen already has one gold medal from the London Games in the synchronised 10m platform with Wang Hao.
The sixth-ranked Benfeito and Australian pair, Brittany Broben (359.55) and Beijing finalist Melissa Wu (355.60) along with Malaysia's Pandelela Rinong (352.50) appear in the hunt for the medals in the final. Benfeito said it will be stressful to dive in the second-last position before Chen in the final. "I think everyone can be on the podium because on the results of the semi-final we are very close to each other so it's going to be hard," Benfeito said.