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Champion diver dies in car crash

Updated: 2013-10-08 21:10
By Sun Xiaochen ( chinadaily.com.cn)

China's former world champion diving star Wang Kenan has died in a car accident in Tianjin at the age of 33, as confirmed on Monday by Hebei province's swimming and diving administrative center, with which Wang was affiliated.

Wang, champion of the men's synchronized 3m springboard at the 2001 Swimming World Championships, was killed in a car crash on Saturday morning. The accident happened as he traveled to the East Asian Games near the Tianjin Natatorium, where he was to participate as a judge, according to multiple media sources.

Bai Yunfeng, the director of the Hubei diving center, confirmed Wang's death with Yanzhao Metropolis Daily. He said officials from the center and family members have arrived in Tianjin to take care of arrangements.

Wang, who started training at the center in 1987, was promoted to the national squad in 2001 before winning the world title in the same year. At the 2002 Asian Games' he won the gold medal for the same event.

Wang retired in 2005 after a disappointing Olympics campaign, where a fault in the final dive cost him the gold for the men's synchronized 3m springboard. In 2006, he became an international diving judge.

Notable figures in the diving world mourned Wang's passing and offered condolences to his family.

"Feeling appallingly sad at his passing. His shy smiles have become irreversible memories. I wish him good luck along the way. There will be blue sky and sea in heaven," two-time Olympic champion diver Gao Min, wrote on her micro blog on Monday.

"Can't believe his death! Shanghai is pouring with rain. God is crying at his death. I wish him a safe journey all the way to heaven," Wang Ruting, coach of Shanghai diving team, said on her micro blog.

Zhang Hao, a young diver with the Hebei team who used to train with Wang, expressed his disbelief at the sad news.

"I wish it was a nightmare and he would be back when I wake up," Zhang said on his micro blog. "Wang always treated me as an older brother and took care of me on the team. I hope brother Wang's family and friends will be able to deal with their grief and take care of themselves."

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