POSTED: 02:59 p.m. HST, Aug 10, 2012
LONDON >> Qui Bo led the 10-meter platform diving preliminaries with a nearly flawless display on Friday night, qualifying first with 563.70 points.
The 19-year-old current world platform champion took the lead for good after the second of six dives in a field loaded with big names.
Qui's 21-year-old teammate, Lin Yue, finished second at 532.15, putting China in position to claim its seventh diving medal of these games.
"They're really good, but I really didn't think about the other athletes," Lin said. "I could tell it was competitive because of the noise in the venue."
Sascha Klein of Germany, the bronze medalist at last year's world championships, was third at 525.05. His teammate, Martin Wolfram, was fourth at 496.80.
The top 18 divers advanced to Saturday's semifinal, with the top 12 making the evening final.
Mexico's two divers were close behind the Germans. German Sanchez was fifth and Ivan Garcia sixth. Both of them performed the toughest dive in the world, an inward 4 1/2 somersault tuck, that carries a 4.1 degree of difficulty.
Even the Chinese didn't attempt that one.
Sanchez scored 98.40 points on it, while Garcia earned 77.90.
"Nothing is written yet," Garcia said. "Anything can happen tomorrow."
Nick McCrory of the U.S. moved on in eighth at 480.90.
"It was a consistent effort — no hits, no misses," the Olympic rookie said. "The goal was just to get through and I'll sharpen up for the semifinal."
Defending Olympic champion Matthew Mitcham, who upset the Chinese four years ago in Beijing, was inconsistent but finished ninth.
"I was overcooking a lot of things," he said. "Everybody did not dive the way I would have expected. Everyone had a scrappy prelim. They go for so long. Prelims are endurance events."
There were 32 divers doing six dives each, which stretched the session to more than three hours.
The biggest cheers were reserved for Tom Daley of Britain, who narrowly missed out on a medal in 10-meter synchro last week. He was 18th after his opening dive, then got as high as seventh before botching his fifth dive.