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Heartbreak for Australia as Chinese divers find true love


Algae may be in the pool but love was in the air after China’s dominant divers broke Australian hearts in the Rio Olympic women’s 3m springboard final.

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Everything went to script as favourite Shi Tingmao grabbed her second gold of the Rio program, becoming only the third person to nab the 3m and 3m synchro titles at a Games.

Australians Maddison Keeney and Esther Qin placed fifth and sixth respectively.

But there was a surprise.

Chinese diving legend Qin Kai – a two-time Olympic men’s 3m synchro champ – popped the question to silver medallist He Zi as she stepped off the podium in front of a packed Maria Lenk Aquatics Centre crowd.

He got down on one knee and seemed to speak for an eternity before finally offering a ring.

The huge crowd hushed as He considered the request.

Then she nodded.

“She is one my best friends, it actually made me cry,” Australia’s China-born, Sydney-based Esther Qin said.

Asked what China’s Qin Kai said during his long proposal, He said: “He made a lot of promises.

“But I thought ‘this is the guy I can trust for the rest of my life’.”

The venue needed a feel-good story.

Australia's Maddison Keeney competes during the women's 3-meter springboard diving final in the Maria Lenk Aquatic Center at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

Australia’s Maddison Keeney competes during the women’s 3-meter springboard diving final. Photo: Wong Maye-E, AP.

Organisers have been left embarrassed after the pool turned green with algae on Tuesday.

They were forced to drain the adjacent main pool and refill it overnight to ensure clear water for the start of Sunday’s synchronised swimming.

The diving pool still looked murky overnight.

The venue has been dubbed “The Swamp” by competitors.

Organisers insist there are no health risks for competitors.

“I am a bit worried about the sanitary conditions – I hope they fix it soon,” Italy’s bronze medallist Tania Cagnotto said.

Olympic debutant Keeney, 20, lagged in ninth before nailing her second last dive and leapfrogging teammate Qin.

Keeney admitted China’s dominance ensured the rest of the field were diving for bronze.

“The Chinese girls are pretty much unbeatable,” she said.


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