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Brazilian smile lightens up diving venue

Summer Games 3 August 2023

It was another dominating display by China on Day 4 of diving at the Chengdu FISU World University Games.

Wang Weiying got things started for the host nation by winning the women’s platform, and then claimed her second gold medal of the day with Yang Ling in the mixed synchronised 3m springboard.

Yang then contributed to another gold-medal effort alongside Huang Zigan in the men’s synchronized 10m platform, with the Chinese duo distancing Germany by a remarkable 78.54 points.

Anna Lucia Rodrigues Martins dos Santos and Rafael Silva Max De Almeida (Brazil) in mixed synchronised 3m springboard final

Nevertheless, it was Brazilian coach Pollyanna’s smile which shone the brighest on Thursday afternoon at the Jianyang Cultural and Sports Centre Natatorium.

His pupils, Anna Lucia Rodrigues Martins dos Santos and Rafael Silva Max De Almeida, captured silver in the mixed synchronised 3m springboard event.

“They did really well. Got everything right,” Pollyanna said. “They practiced as if they were one [person] and they were rewarded with this amazing result.

“They were extremely happy and satisfied from the first dive and it just went on to the second, then the third. It was a glory for us.”

The Brazilian duo could barely believe the result after their last round.

“I don’t know. It hasn’t sunken in yet. I am just so happy with the result,” said Anna.

“I am still in disbelief, but I am super happy with our result. I truly can’t believe it, I am very thankful,” Rafael added.

It marks only their second time competing together after the Fukuoka World Aquatics Championships a few weeks back.

Giving themselves a solid ten out of ten for their performance, they were thankful for their coach’s effort.

“She is SO good. This was the only time that we trained under her, but she pushed us a lot and always supported us, so this medal makes everyone happy,” said the 22-year-old Anna.

When asked about their opinion on their opponents, the Brazilians said: “We weren’t paying much attention to the other divers. We just strived to do our best, keep our focus and everything ended up going our way.”

Lou Marssenberg and Tom Waldsteinder (Germany) in men’s synchonised 10m platform final (all phots in article courtesy Shi Xuejie, FISU Young Reporter)

On the other hand, the Germans who took second place in the men’s synchronized 10m platform, Lou Massenberg and Tom Waldsteiner, admitted they had no chance to compete with their Chinese rivals. The pair has been training together for only two months.

“They are way better than us but silver is the best we can have here so we are really happy with our performance,” said Massenberg, who also claimed silver on Monday in the men’s synchronised 3m springboard.

Diving in Chengdu continues until August 7.

Written by Noor Saleha Salem, FISU Young Reporter