He Chao of China kisses his medal during the awarding ceremony for the men's 3m springboard diving at the 2015 Swimming World Championships in Kazan, Russia, July 31, 2015. He Chao claimed the title with a score of 555.05 points. (Xinhua/Jia Yuchen)
by sportswriter Zhou Xin
KAZAN, July 31 (Xinhua) -- Kissing the gold medal, He Chao was in tears when he stood atop the podium of men's 3m springboard at the FINA World Swimming Championships. He proved he can be the best of himself, not a substitute of his elder brother, Olympic and world champion He Chong.
He Chao overcame the triple pressure from the local hero Olympic champion Ilia Zakharov, home crowds and the impact from He Chong in the 3m springboard final for a winning total 555.05 points. He edged home favorite Zakharov to second in 547.60 and Jack David Laugher of Britain to thrid in 528.90.
"I finally made it. I am He Chao, the world champion now. I want to give this title to my brother He Chong since he did not make the team to Kazan. I extend his winning streak from third to fourth time," He said.
The men's 3m springboard was ruled by the Chinese divers for eight years since 2007 when Qin Kai claimed victory and He Chong won the titles for three consecutive times in 2009, 2011 and 2013.
"I guess my brother must be happier than I am when I finally stand on the top of the podium at my first World Championships. I did it for him," said the 23-year-old.
The men's 3m springboard was the most breath-taking event which saw the lead was exchanged from Mexican Rommel Pacheco in round one, to Laugher in round two, to Cao Yuan in round three, before He Chao took over in the fourth and kept it to the last dive.
Zakharov produced a day-high 106.40 points for his last dive 109C (forward 4-1/2 somersaults )just before He's turn. He then earned 102.60 for the same 109C to seal the victory.
"I was under great pressure not only because of Zakharov's high points, but also from the local audience. It was a kind of overwhelming atmospheric. Before I stood on the springboard, I had a glimpse to my team manager and suddenly I felt calm and cool," He said.
"I focused on my own dive, nothing else was in my mind when I was on the springboard. I knew that I have to rely on myself no matter how good the other divers performed. It was a great and hard battle."
He, who placed 7th in the 1m springboard, admitted the failure motivated him to perform his best in the 3m.
"I was disappointed with my poor performance 7th in the 1m springboard because of the nerves. I did not answer all the phone calls and messages from my friends and family. I just kept thinking and learning from my failure. That failure motivated me to win the 3m," He said.
As the younger brother, He Chao said he is used to be related with He Chong. "Everyone would compare me with my elder brother He Chong. I am used to it. He is always my idol and role model since I started diving. I have never thought about to renew his career record, I just want to be myself and explore the best part of me."
"It was my team manager Zhou Jihong who kept telling me to be myself, and helped me to walk out of the shadow of my brother," He said.
"I respect He Chong as he is my idol and my brother. All the glory he got belonged to him. What I can do is to try to be the best of myself. The world title means a new start of my career and my next goal is to win the champion at 2016 Rio Olympic Games," He said.