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Chinese stars will be pushed hard by challengers

Competing teams seek to gain psychological advantage by performing well in the pre-Olympic event

Image Credit: Courtesy: FP 7
From left: The UK Diving team of Tonia Couch, Peter Wakefield, Jack Laugher, Tom Daley and Sarah Barrow arrive at Dubai airport ahead of the Fina/Midea World Series event this weekend. The British team will attempt to hit top form ahead of their home Olympic Games this summer.
Gulf News

Dubai The star-studded Chinese team of divers, featuring eight current World Cham:pions, arrived in Dubai on Monday ahead of this weekend's Fina/Midea Diving World Series at the Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Sports Complex.

However, the Chinese will have their work cut out as, with the exception of two synchro teams, every other 2011 World Championship medallist will be competing on Friday and Saturday in a star-studded turnout rarely seen.

Dubai diving fans will be treated to an Olympic-standard event as competitors from all 11 countries seek to cement their places in their national teams for London 2012, while seeking to gain a psychological advantage by performing well in pre-Olympic competitions.

In the men's 10m platform competition, David Boudia of the USA will be trying to break the dominance of China's Qui Bo, but will also come up against the UK's teenage sensation Tom Daley, who will be looking to return to his former No. 1 ranking ahead of his home Olympic Games.

The main challengers to China's dominance are the Russian, German and Canadian synchro teams in both the 3m springboard and 10m platform. They all won silver at the 2011 World Championships and will be striving to go one better here in Dubai.

"We are very excited about the quality of the competition on display this weekend," said Ahmad Al Falasi, President of the UAE Swimming Association.

Full house

"For the first diving event in Dubai to be of this standard is wonderful and we hope to have a full house on both days."

Dr Ahmad Al Sharif, General Secretary, Dubai Sports Council, encouraged fans to come and experience the Olympic-standard event. "The calibre of this competition is unlikely to be seen again in Dubai for many years so we urge people to come and witness the best in the world this weekend," he said.

Friday's semi-finals will begin at 10am, followed by the opening ceremony at 5pm and the finals at 6pm. Saturday's semi-finals will also begin at 10am, with the finals at 5pm.

Tickets for the two days cost Dh40 for standard or Dh80 for VIP seating and will be available at the Hamdan Complex.

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