Wed, August 06, 2008
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Water Cube receives Chinese diving "dream team"

2008-08-06 03:14:46 GMT2008-08-06 11:14:46 (Beijing Time) Xinhua English

Chinese divers Guo Jingjing (top) and Wu Minxia practice at the National Aquatics Center, also known as the Water Cube, in Beijing, China, Aug. 5, 2008. The Chinese diving team held its first pre-Olympic training session here on Tuesday. (Xinhua/Liu Yu)

(Chinese divers Guo Jingjing (top) and Wu Minxia practice at the National Aquatics Center, also known as the Water Cube, in Beijing, China, Aug. 5, 2008. (Xinhua/Liu Yu)

Chinese diver Guo Jingjing smiles in training at the National Aquatics Center, also known as the Water Cube, in Beijing, China, Aug. 5, 2008. (Xinhua/Liu Yu)

Chinese diver Guo Jingjing takes a bath at the National Aquatics Center, also known as the Water Cube, in Beijing, China, Aug. 5, 2008. (Xinhua/Liu Yu)

BEIJING, Aug. 5 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese diving team, tipped as the "dream team," had their first training before the Beijing Olympic Games in the Water Cube here on Tuesday afternoon.

The Chinese divers, who just arrived in Beijing this morning, could not wait to train in the Water Cube as they walked into the venue at 3:30. Olympic and world champion, the "diving queen" Guo Jingjing was the most eye-catching figure.

At the age of 27, the eldest diver in the squad, Guo is still an overwhelming favorite on the springboard. She looked quite in form and trained one hour on the 3m springboard.

At 4:30 p.m., Guo and Wang Feng, a men's 3m springboard veteran, finished their training. Teenager Wang Xin, Chen Ruolin and other platform divers had one more hour's on-land training. They left at about 5:30 p.m.

"It's good to have training back here," Wang said, who will participate in the 3m springboard synchronized with 2007 Melbourne world champion Qin Kai. They are also the gold medallist in the event in Melbourne. "I am in very good form."

The powerful Chinese diving team is unlikely to surrender its dominance on home soil after confirming its supremacy throughout the season.

China has undisputed domination in diving. The Chinese diving team claimed five golds at 2000 Sydeny Olympics and further took a record six at 2004 Athens Olympics, contributing more Olympic golds for China than other Chinese teams.

The Chinese divers flexed their muscles by sweeping all eight golds during the last meet of the FINA Diving Grand Prix in Rome on July.

"Our divers are quite in form," said Zhou Jihong, head coach of the Chinese diving team. "But the Olympic Games is no easy, and winning a gold is also no easy. There are too many tough rivals."

"There are four to five strong rivals in each of the event," Zhou said. "So our divers need to fight very very hard."

The Chinese diving team competed in the Water Cube in February's World Cup, taking seven of the eight golds on stake. Zhou said there were lots of changes in the venue compared with February. "It's more colorful now."

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