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China's Li takes gold in 1m men's springboard

China's Li Shixin competes in the men's one-metre springboard final diving event in the FINA World Championships at the Piscina Municipal de Montjuic in Barcelona on July 22, 2013. Li retained his world championship crown in the men's one metre springboard final on Monday.AFP

Chinese diver Li Shixin retained his world championship crown in the men's one metre springboard final on Monday.

Li, 25, recovered from a disappointing first dive to record a score of 460.95 points and hold off Ukranian Illya Kvasha on 434.30 and Mexican Kevin Chavez on 431.55, who took silver and bronze respectively.

Two stunning final dives saw Li come from fifth place after four of the six rounds to the top of the podium and afterwards he praised the calming influence of his coach for his recovery from a nervy start.

"When I was younger, my coach showed me a video of this pool during the 1992 Olympic Games," he told the FINA website.

"It was my dream to compete here and of course to dive well. I was a bit nervous until the fourth dive, but then my coach told me to relax and I made my last two rounds with more confidence".

"After my title two years ago in Shanghai, I've lost some other competitions and many people suggested that I should retire. My coach and my team leader always supported me to continue. They were right! Today, their help paid off".

Li been heavily favoured to retain his title after also registering the highest score in qualifying on Saturday.

However, it was his compatriot Sun Zhiyi who made the early running as he led after the first two rounds.

Li moved into the top three for the first time after his third dive, but his chances of victory looked to be slipping away when a poor fourth attempt saw him slip back to fifth.

The penultimate round though was to prove crucial as leader Matthieu Rosset's disastrous attempt saw the Frenchman slip out of contention for a medal and Li followed up with the best dive of the competition so far with an inward two-and-a-half somersault pike that registered an 86.70 from the judges.

And he went one better in the final round with a 87.45 to seal his triumph and China's second gold of the championships after Wu Minxia and Shi Tingmao were victorious in the women's synchronised 3m springboard on Saturday.