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World swimming

Pakhalina strikes gold again

Russian, 31, ends her title drought

Associated Press / July 20, 2009
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ROME - Julia Pakhalina of Russia won the gold medal in women’s 1-meter springboard diving at the world swimming championships yesterday, her first title at a worlds or Olympics in nine years.

Pakhalina led from start to finish and totaled 325.05 points through the five-dive final. Wu Minxia of China took the silver medal with 311.90 points, and Wang Han of China was third with 303.95.

In other events yesterday, Olympic champions Chen Roulin and Wang Xin of China won the gold medal in 10-meter synchronized diving and Olympic champion Russia won gold in team tech synchronized swimming.

Chen and Wang compiled 369.18 points to easily outdistance Mary Beth Dunnichay and Haley Ishimatsu of the United States, who took silver with 324.66 points. Mun Yee Leong and Pandelela Rinong Pamg of Malaysia were third (321.66).

Russia scored 98.833 points to win the team synchro, edging Spain (97.833) and China (96.667). Russia has won gold in the event at the last three Olympics.

Pakhalina’s last major victory came in 3-meter synchronized at the Sydney Olympics in 2000. She also won two golds at the 1998 worlds in Perth, Australia, in 3-meter springboard and 3-meter synchro.

“I’m still able to compete [after] all these years. It’s not a struggle but a joy,’’ the 31-year-old Pakhalina said.

Pakhalina won bronze in this event at the last worlds in Melbourne two years ago, and silver in 3-meter springboard and 3-meter synchro at last year’s Beijing Olympics. One-meter springboard is not an Olympic event.