China completes dominant 1st week at aquatics worlds

DOHA, Qatar — China finished a dominant first week at the World Aquatics Championships with more titles in artistic swimming and diving Saturday to top the medal table with 16 golds out of 29.

Cheng Wentao and Shi Haoyu retained their world title in the artistic mixed duet free event and Yang Hao won the 10-meter platform diving for a sixth career gold at worlds.

Australia took the other gold on offer Saturday as storied diver Maddison Keeney paired with Domonic Bedggood to win the mixed 3-meter synchronized springboard – a rare event in which China did not compete.

Ahead of swimming events starting Sunday, Australia’s three golds so far is best of the rest of the world behind the Chinese wave of success in Doha.

Cheng and Shi had taken silver in the mixed duet technical event last weekend, and improved on that in Aspire Dome arena performing a routine on the theme of “Romeo and Juliet.”

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“Winning the gold medal at the World Championship on the Chinese New Year is indeed a great feeling,” Cheng said.

Their score of 224.1437 points was more than 15 points ahead of silver medalists Mireia Hernandez and Dennis Gonzalez of Spain. Bronze went to Mexico’s Trinidad Meza and Diego Villalobos.

Yang’s sixth world title was his first individual success, and added to the gold he won Thursday in synchronized 10-meter platform with partner Lian Junjie.

Yang’s points total of 564 was more than 10 ahead of teammate Cao Yuan. Ukrainian teenager Oleksiy Sereda took bronze, as he did Thursday in the synchro with partner Kirill Boliukh.

In the mixed synchro diving Saturday, Keeney regained the title she had won five years ago with a different partner, Matthew Carter.

Keeney and Bedggood scored more than 300 points to win by 13 from Italian pair Chiara Pellacani and Matteo Santoro. Bronze medals went to Kim Su-ji and Yi Jae-gyeong of South Korea.

Keeney’s gold followed silver in Doha in the women’s 3-meter springboard synchro, with Anabelle Smith – the pair that took bronze at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics — and bronze in the mixed team event.

In women’s water polo Saturday, Australia, Canada, Greece and the Netherlands advanced to the quarterfinals.

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