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Sunday, May 9, 2004
China wins two more golds, overall honors

Associated Press

THE WOODLANDS, Texas -- U.S. Olympian Mark Ruiz finished fifth in the men's platform at the Diving Grand Prix at The Woodlands Athletic Club on Sunday.

China claimed the men's platform and women's 3 meter Sunday, easily winning overall honors with eight total medals, including seven of the eight golds and one silver in the four-day event.

China's Tian Liang, gold medalist in the 2000 Sydney Olympics, won the men's platform with a score of 539.97, outdistancing Peter Waterfield of Great Britain, who finished at 483.30.

Russia's Gleb Galperin used a strong final dive to take third ahead of Robert Newbery of Australia and Ruiz.

"I'm certainly a little upset and disappointed," said Ruiz, who was sixth on platform and seventh in both the 3 meter and synchro platform at the Sydney Games. "I usually pride myself in closing out strong, but I didn't today."

Ruiz has struggled through back and wrist injuries the last three years, but said he is encouraged with his performance this weekend and at last week's Canada Cup, where he finished fourth.

"These two meets have been big confidence boosters for me," he said. "As long as I am in contention for a medal, I know I'm getting better. I'm still where I want to be heading into the Olympics."

In the women's 3 meter, Rachelle Kunkel of the United States finished fourth with a score of 321.85.

Wu Min Xia of China won the women's 3 meter gold, but countrywoman Guo Jingjing finished last. Guo, who won the silver in the event in the 2000 Olympics, failed to complete the rotation on her third dive, a forward 3½ somersault, and received zeroes from all the judges.

Wu beat Australia's Irina Lashko on the last dive, coming from two points behind to win 355.30-340.45. Canada's Blythe Hartley took the bronze.