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The 15-year-old Ren registered a score of 439.25 points to secure victory at the Maria Lenk Aquatics Centre. Her team-mate, 17-year-old Si Yajie, took second place with a score of 419.40 points, while the bronze went to Canada’s Meaghan Benfeito, who had also finished in third place in the women’s synchronised 10m platform event.
Despite recording the best score for a single dive on the night – 94.05 points – Ren felt she could have performed even better. “I did pretty well, but it wasn’t perfect, based on what I expect of myself. You can consider me a perfectionist,” she said. “In terms of confidence I wasn’t feeling great, but I focused on each individual dive and I think that’s why I got the medal.”
On winning gold at 15, she said: “I feel quite good about it. I’m young but I got the medal. I think I’ll train and work harder from now on so I can focus on my future.”
Aged 15 years and 180 days, Ren becomes the youngest medallist at Rio 2016 having broken the mark set by Japan’s Mima Ito, who was 15 years and 300 days when she claimed bronze in the women’s team event in table tennis on 16 August.
Ren is not the youngest ever Olympic champion in the women’s 10m platform event, however. That particular record is still held by her compatriot Fu Mingxia, who won gold at Barcelona 1992 aged just 13 years and 346 days.
Runner-up Si was gracious in defeat, saying that Ren was simply too strong. “I really had high hopes and expectations for the gold medal, but to be honest, I think my team-mate is a better diver so she really deserved the win. I tried really hard, put in a lot of effort and think if I try harder I can probably win the gold medal next time.”