LONDON — China is looking awfully tough to beat in the last diving event of the London Olympics.
Qui Bo led the 10-meter platform preliminaries with a nearly flawless display on Friday night, qualifying first with 563.70 points.
China has won all but one diving event at the Olympics.
Qui, the 19-year-old current world platform champion took the lead for good after the second of six dives in a field loaded with big names.
Qui’s 21-year-old teammate, Lin Yue, finished second at 532.15, putting China in position to claim its seventh diving medal of these games.
“They’re really good, but I really didn’t think about the other athletes,” Lin said. “I could tell it was competitive because of the noise in the venue.”
Sascha Klein, of Germany, was third at 525.05. His teammate, Martin Wolfram, was fourth at 496.80.
The top 18 divers advanced to today’s semifinal, with the top 12 making the evening final.
Mexico’s two divers were close behind the Germans. German Sanchez was fifth and Ivan Garcia sixth. Both of them performed the toughest dive in the world, an inward 4 1/2 somersault tuck, that carries a 4.1 degree of difficulty.
Even the Chinese didn’t attempt that one.
Sanchez scored 98.40 points on it, while Garcia earned 77.90.
Nick McCrory, of the U.S., moved on in eighth at 480.90.
The other American, David Boudia, grabbed the 18th and last spot for the semifinal.
The biggest cheers were reserved for Tom Daley, of Britain, who narrowly missed out on a medal in 10-meter synchro last week. He was 18th after his opening dive, then got as high as seventh before botching his fifth dive.
Daley hit the water hard on a back 21/2 somersault pike that earned just 39.60 points and dropped him to 16th.
He rebounded with 84.15 points on his last dive to move up to 15th.
China was on track for a sweep in London until Russia won the men’s 3-meter springboard title.
China earned its sixth gold medal at the games in women’s 10-meter platform on Thursday.
Chen Ruolin became the fourth woman to win titles in the event at successive games. The 19-year-old completed a sweep of the platforn events that she won four years ago.