World Sports

Feature: Frenemy sisters shine at National Diving Championship in Shanghai 2023/3/23 source: Print

SHANGHAI, March 23 (Xinhua) -- After stepping down the podium with a silver medal, Quan Hongchan, the Tokyo Olympic diving champion who will soon turn 16, buried her head in the arms of her sibling-like teammate Xie Siyi and couldn't control her tears.

But being asked by the media why she cried, the stubborn young girl denied it. "I did not cry," she said.

The women's 10m platform final finished on Tuesday is the second key competition for Quan to vie for the crown at 2023 National Diving Championship, which will qualify athletes for the World Championships, the Asian Games and the Universiade. Two days ago, Quan claimed the women's synchronized 10m platform title together with Chen Yuxi.

Chen, 17, is also a Tokyo Olympic gold medalist, winning the women's synchronized 10m platform and coming second to Quan in the individual competition. The two girls were paired up after the Tokyo Olympics, combining cooperation and competition.

Two years later, Quan was defeated by her partner, or to be more precise, herself. The competition was at first closely-contested until Quan made a mistake when trying to complete a high risk 207C in her fourth dive, the same movement she had failed to execute well in the semifinal.

"I was too excited during the competition and did not control the rhythm well," said Quan. "But I am confident that I am able to make it. I just need to relax."

The young diver also has to get used to her physical change. "I have become much taller and heavier in the past two years. I will keep making adjustments in training sessions," she said.

On the other hand, Chen, a Shanghai native, received a warm welcome from her hometown crowd. Her teammates and coaches from the Shanghai diving team had come to cheer her on, and many of her fans held banners with slogans of encouragement.

Chen rewarded her supporters with a deep bow after her last dive and dedicated her success to them. "Their cheering really encouraged me," said Chen.

However, she was not satisfied with her performance. "After I overtook Quan, I was not fully concentrated, which led to some imperfect dives," she said.

When being interviewed, Chen acted more like an elder sister than an opponent. Quan always looked to Chen for help when facing tough questions.

Chen described their relationship as a complementary one. "We take care of and support each other in our daily life. For example, our growth is causing problems for both of us and we will share experiences," said Chen.

Talking about Quan's mistakes, Chen regarded them in a positive way. "Everyone makes mistakes sometimes, and sometimes mistakes may not be a bad thing. I hope she can do better in future competitions. Healthy mutual competition helps us progress," Chen said.