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Osmar Olvera Ibarra gives Mexico its 2nd diving gold medal in world championship history

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Osmar Olvera Ibarra gave Mexico its second diving gold medal in the history of the World Aquatics Championships, winning the men's 1-meter springboard on Saturday.

Olvera became the first diver from a country other than China to claim the top spot in the event since Alexandre Despatie of Canada in 2005.

Paolo Espinosa is the only other Mexican diving world champion, capturing gold on the 10-meter platform at Rome in 2009.

The 19-year-old Olvera was a silver medalist on both 1- and 3-meter springboard at last summer's world championships in Fukuoka, Japan. Now, he's got some gold-medal momentum with the Paris Olympics just five months away.

Olvera led the morning preliminaries and cruised through the final, posting a score of 431.75 points over six dives. The silver went to Li Shixin of Australia at 395.70, while Ross Haslam of Britain took the bronze in 393.10.

China, which has dominated diving at both the Olympics and world championships, claimed its first gold in Doha when 13-year-old Huang Jianjie and Zhang Jiaqi won the mixed 10-meter synchronized platform.

With its focus firmly on Paris, China sent a scaled-back team to Doha, giving other nations a chance to shine. The diving superpower didn’t enter the first two events Friday and is assured of its fewest gold medals at worlds since settling for eight in 2017.

Over the last three championships, China has claimed 37 of 39 gold medals.

Zheng Jiuyuan of China lost any chance of cracking the 1-meter medalists with a botched dive in the fifth round, nearly landing on his knees. He finished 11th out of 12 finalists.

Li's silver-medal performance marked another remarkable turn for the 35-year-old diver, who captured 1-meter gold for his native China at both the 2011 and 2013 worlds before moving to Australia.

In the mixed event, Huang and 19-year-old Zhang romped to victory for China with 353.82 points. Zhang added to the gold won at Fukuoka while paired with Wang Feilong.

Jo Jin Mi and Im Yong Myong of North Korea took the silver in 303.96, while the bronze went to Kevin Berlin Reyes and Alejandra Estudillo Torres of Mexico at 296.13.

In other finals on Day 2 of the first world championships held in the Middle East, Sharon van Rouwendaal of the Netherlands pulled off a thrilling victory in the women’s 10-kilometer race and Evangelia Platanioti of Greece took artistic swimming gold in women’s solo technical.

Van Rouwendaal touched first in 1 hour, 57 minutes, 26.80 seconds — a mere 10th of a second ahead of Maria de Valdes of Spain. The bronze went to Angelica Andre of Portugal, who was 1.4 seconds behind the winner.

On the last of six laps around the Old Doha Port, Moesha Johnson of Australia faded from the lead to fourth as van Rouwendaal showed off her finishing kick in the final 500 meters of the rough-and-tumble race.

The 30-year-old van Rouwendaal regained the title she held at the 2022 world championships in Budapest, Hungary. She finished fourth last summer in Fukuoka, where Leonie Beck of Germany swept the 5k and 10k titles.

Beck finished 20th at Doha, 45 seconds behind the winner.

Van Rouwendaal is a longtime star on the open water circuit. She won gold at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics and grabbed a silver at the Tokyo Games three years ago.

The 29-year-old Platanioti paced the final of solo technical with 272.9633 points. Jacqueline Simoneau of Canada claimed the silver (269.2767) and Xu Huiyan of China settled for bronze (262.3700).

Many top athletes are skipping Doha, which is hosting the worlds a year behind schedule because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is the first time the world championships have been held in the same calendar year as the Summer Games.

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