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Fabriga avoids basement by just two rungs

By Ted S. Melendres
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 01:40:00 08/24/2008

Filed Under: Summer Olympics, Sport, Diving

BEIJING, China?Ryan Rexel Fabriga started out with the least impressive routine of the night and settled for 28th place in a field of 30 at the end of the men?s 10-meter platform diving qualification stage Friday at the Beijing Olympics here.

The 5-foot-3, 130 lb Fabriga never made a significant comeback after bungling his first of six dives and earning a basement score of 54 points as he finished the late-night event a massive 180.95 behind top qualifier Zhou Luxin of China.

Zhou, the 20-year-old Diving Grand Prix overall champion but ranked only second here to compatriot and world champion Huo Liang, led the top 18 into the semifinals of aquatics? final event at the state-of-the-art Water Cube venue.

Australia?s Matthew Mitcham topped the second dive and wound up 30.20 points behind Zhou, followed in third spot by Russia?s Gleb Galperin, the best performer in the last dive, 39.85 off the leader.

Fabriga?s best effort in the fourth dive?a reverse 3 ? somersault in a pike position?drew a pair of 7.0s from seven judges and earned him a 19th-place ranking for the round.

He was already too far behind the competition, though, to get himself into the top 18 and he moved up just a notch to 29th.

?Our boy was definitely not in tip-top shape and his scores showed,? said chief of mission and Bacolod Rep. Monico Puentevella. ?He?s a lot better than that.?

Indeed, Fabriga lost out to rival Bryan Nickson Lomas in their duel between Southeast Asia?s two best divers as the Malaysian finished two rungs ahead in 26th, 155.45 points behind China?s Zhou and 25.50 ahead of the Zamboangueo.

Only Ukraine?s Anton Zakharov and North Korea?s Kim Chon-man fared worse than Fabriga, who clinched his place in the Olympics by finishing fourth in the third qualification stage of the 2008 Fina Diving World Cup in the Chinese capital.

The winner of that event, Germany?s Sascha Klein, closed out with his worst dive here?a 25th-best effort?but made it to the next phase in 10th place.

Fabriga snared two gold medals at the 2003 Vietnam Southeast Asian Games and another at the 2007 Thailand Games.

Fabriga?s stint followed that of teammate Shiela Mae Perez who failed to make it past the qualification stage of the women?s 3-meter springboard event on Aug. 14, winding up 23rd in a field of 30 divers.

She fell five rungs short of the last semifinalist in the event won by the ravishing Guo Jingjing of China.



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