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Italian Swimmer Valli Defends Title, Wins Gold in Barcelona - 2003-07-13

Italian swimmmer Viola Valli successfully defended her five-kilometer open water title Sunday to claim the first gold medal of the 10th World Swimming Championships in Barcelona, Spain, while Yevgeny Kochkarov of Russia won the gold in the men's event. In a tight race that saw each of the top eight swimmers finish just a few meters apart after nearly an hour in the water, Valli edged silver medalist Jana Pechanova of the Czech Republic by 2.7 seconds. Germany's Britta Kamrau won the bronze medal, 5.2 seconds off the winning pace of 57 minutes and 1.2 seconds. Kochkarov finished the men's 5K, finishing in 53:11.9, two seconds ahead of German silver medalist Christian Hein and 2.9 seconds before the bronze medalist, teammate Vladimir Diattchine. Meanwhile, China's Lao Lishi and Li Ting took the gold medal in the women's 10-meter synchronized platform diving event. They score a combined 344.58 points from their five dives, while the Australian duo - Loudy Tourky and Lynda Dackiw - won the silver with 323.24 points. The Russian divers, Yevgenya Olshevskaya and Svetlana Timoshinina, took the bronze.

Russian divers Dmitry Sautin and Alexander Dobroskok teamed up to win the gold medal in the men's 3-meter synchronized springboard event. The Russian duo scored a combined 369.18 points to push the favored Chinese divers - Wang Tianling and Wang Feng - into second place with 343.29 points. Germany took the bronze medal.