DUBAI (Reuters) - China’s Qiu Bo, a hot favourite for Olympic diving gold in London, said his biggest challenge in the lead-up to the Games was to maintain the high standards he set himself, rather than worrying about his rivals.
Qiu, 19, won gold at last year’s world swimming championships in Shanghai in the 10-metre platform and 10-metre platform synchro alongside Huo Liang, form that earned him the 2011 Male Diver of the Year award.
“The biggest challenge is from myself to beat myself. The aim is to win everything,” he told reporters through an interpreter in Dubai on Wednesday as he took a break from preparing for the first leg of the sport’s World Series on Friday and Saturday that also includes stops in Beijing, Moscow and Tijuana.
”I enjoy the pressure (of being the number one). That is the pressure that moves me to get stronger and stronger.
“I never think about winning the gold medal (in London). What is in my mind is good preparation for competitions and then if I can perform well then the results will look after themselves,” he added.
Qiu is one of eight Chinese world champions competing in Dubai and their line-up of 11 athletes includes all those who enjoyed a clean sweep of eight golds at last month’s World Cup at the London Aquatics Centre that will be used for the Olympic Games.
“(Our success is) all because we have a very good team that coach and service the athletes, and we have a very professional training system in China,” said Qiu.
Double-Commonwealth Games gold medalist Jennifer Abel from Canada, who won silver in the three-metre springboard synchro and bronze in the three-metre springboard in Shanghai, said competing against the Chinese remained a positive experience despite their dominance of the sport.
“The Chinese have always been such great divers and I love watching them and learning from them,” she told reporters.
“I do not feel dominated by them. It is a goal to get closer to them and every time I do (then) I know I am working hard and improving my diving.”
The World Series is very much a dress rehearsal for the Olympic Games with 58 athletes from 11 countries lining up to compete in Dubai.
The event includes four disciplines for men and women - the three-metre springboard, the 10-metre platform, the three-metre synchro and the 10-metre platform synchro.
Editing by Justin Palmer