Skip to content
Home News International Debut: Local Student Dives for Gold!

International Debut: Local Student Dives for Gold!

Summer Games 2 August 2023

Competing in your first international tournament is always a special and nerve-wracking experience.

Add to that being a local and having a home crowd rooting for you.

“The cheering of the Chinese audience is of course a great encouragement for us, but it also made us quite nervous,” said Chen Jia of China after claiming the women’s 1m springboard title at the Chengdu FISU World University Games on Tuesday.

Further encouragement came from celebrated Olympian Ren Xi, known internationally as Ren Qian, who hugged Chen in the mixed zone. Qian from Chengdu won gold in the women’s 10-meter platform diving event at the 2016 Summer Olympics, becoming the youngest champion to top the podium at the age of 15.

“She is my role model. Especially before this tournament, she helped me to relax and do what you can, and it will be the best,” Chen said.

Women’s 1m springboard medallists

The Chengdu Sport University student scored 318.90 points from five dives on the second day of diving at the Jianyang Cultural and Sports Center Natatorium.

“Winning gold in the 1m springboard is just the beginning. I hope to continue to improve by practicing and achieve good results in the next two competitions,” said the Sichuan native after her international debut.

She will also be competing on the women’s 3m platform and in the women’s synchronized 3m platform event.

Wang Yi, also representing China, won the silver medal with a margin of 38.55 points.

The Xi’an Physical Education University student had previously competed in the synchronized 3m springboard and decided to switch to the 1m platform event. “I was not very happy with my 3m result. I did better in the 1m event and that is why I made the switch this time,” she said.

And she wants to do even better next time.

With Chen’s victory, China has now swept all of the gold medals in the three medal events to date. China will aim to further increase their medal count in the remaining 12 events scheduled over the coming days.

American Sophia Grace Verzyl will also be looking to add to her bronze medal win.

Verzyl will have her chances in the following events: women’s 3m springboard, women’s synchronized 3m springboard, and mixed synchronized 3m springboard.

“My expectations are to stay focused, stay relaxed and do the best I can,” said the business major.

Her education has also taught her to manage her time well, as has diving because her amount of training. Discipline is another essential part she’s learned as a student athlete.

“You have to do your homework on time. I have to go to class in order to dive and I have to dive well, so I think they go hand in hand,” the University of South Carolina student said about the relationship between athletics and academics.

Written by Andjela Cegar, FISU Young Reporter