Minisini, Flamini get Italy's 1st gold at swimming worlds

Giorgio Minisini and Manila Flamini of Italy pose with gold medals a following the Mixed Duet Technical awarding ceremony at the 17th FINA World Aquatics Championships in Budapest on Monday. — Reuters

BUDAPEST, Hungary — Giorgio Minisini and Manila Flamini earned Italy its first gold medal of the World Swimming Championships by winning the mixed duet technical synchronized swimming competition on Monday. Minisini and Flamini finished with a total of 90.2979 points, edging Russia's Mikhaela Kalancha and Aleksandr Maltsev by just 0.034 of a point.

"Doing 90 in this competition is something unbelievable. We couldn't even think about such high scores," Minsini said. The Italian pair impressed the judges with a choreography called, "A Scream from Lampedusa," created by Russian synchronized swimmer Anastasia Ermakova, and dedicated to the huge numbers of migrants arriving on the Italian island between Sicily and Tunisia every year.

"Italy had two bronze medals in Kazan. But we wanted to be better," Minsini said of the last worlds in Russia. "Every day of the year we worked hard to get on the top. It was very important for us."

Their win brings Italy's medal tally at the worlds to one gold, one silver and three bronze. Bill May and Kanako Spendlove claimed bronze, the United States' first medal of the championships, with 87.6682 points.

"I feel amazing. I'm not disappointed with this bronze medal at all," said May, who won gold in this event at this 2015 worlds. "I'm happy with my result and with other performances."

Spendlove won four medals (one gold, three silver) at the worlds in 2003 and 2005 when she was representing Japan

Later, China claimed its fourth gold medal on Monday when Shi Tingmao and Chang Yani won the country's ninth straight world title in women's 3-meter springboard synchronized diving.

Shi and Chang led from the first round and produced an almost-perfect forward 2-1/2 somersaults, one twist pike in the fifth for a total of 333.30 points. It brought Shi her sixth gold medal in diving at the worlds and her fourth in this event.

Melissa Citrini Beaulieu and Jennifer Abel finished with an inward 2-1/2 somersaults pike to claim Canada's first medal of the championships, a silver, with 323.43 points. Kristina Ilinykh and Nadezhda Bazhina won the bronze for Russia, its first of the championships and sixth medal overall.

Russia and Hungary to host two future editions

Swimming's world governing body, FINA, says Kazan will host in 2022 and Budapest in 2024. They beat bids from Hong Kong and Taipei City. The 25-meter pool championships are staged every two years in December, and include hosting the FINA World Aquatics Convention.

The decision was announced Monday in Budapest, which is currently staging the two-yearly world championships over the full 50-meter distance.

Kazan in the Russian region of Tatarstan staged the previous 50-meter worlds in 2015. Tatarstan Sports Minister Vladimir Leonov said: "We are known as the sport capital of Russia, and everyone in the FINA Family fully understands the meaning of this status." — AP