By Yoo Jee-ho
GWANGJU, July 14 (Yonhap) -- South Korean diver Woo Ha-ram fell just short of his first world championships medal on Sunday, his impressive start and strong finish foiled by late pushes from rivals.
Woo finished fourth in the men's 1m springboard at the FINA World Championships with 406.15 points after six attempts at Nambu University Municipal Aquatics Center in Gwangju, 330 kilometers south of Seoul. He was only 8.85 points behind the bronze medal winner, Peng Jianfeng of China.
Wang Zongyuan of China earned the gold with 440.25 points, more than 20 points ahead of the runner-up, Rommel Pacheco of Mexico.
Though Woo didn't get a prize, it was still the highest finish by a South Korean male diver at a world championships.
Woo was trying to ease the pain of missing out on a podium finish in the synchronized 3m springboard final on Saturday. Woo and Kim Yeong-nam led the field after three of six attempts, but they finished in 10th place with miscues in their fourth and sixth dives.
In the 1m springboard final, Woo posted the best score in the field in the first dive with 71.40 points. He dropped to third after the next attempt, but climbed back up to second place after the third dive, before reclaiming the top spot after scoring 80 points in his fourth dive, which took him to 286.15 points.
On the reverse 2 1/2 somersault from in the tuck position, Woo received 8.5 points from four of the seven judges and 8.0 from the remaining three.
In diving, the two highest and the two lowest scores are dropped, and the three remaining scores are added and multiplied by the degree of difficulty.
Pacheco, who was in third place after four dives, threw down the gauntlet with 72 points in his fifth attempt to take the lead at 352.95 points.
Immediately following Pacheco, Woo managed only 57 points, his lowest score of the day up to that point, and momentarily dropped to second place, 9.80 points behind the Mexican.
Wang jumped to first place with 74.25 points in his fifth attempt to get to 358.65 points. Woo was then 15.50 points back of the leader and only 1.35 points ahead of Oleg Kolodiy of Ukraine.
Woo's best hope was to secure the bronze. Diving two spots ahead of Woo, Kolodiy scored 54.60 to reach 396.40 points. Knowing what he had to do, Woo responded with 63 points that lifted him to 406.15 points, in second place with two divers remaining.
With Wang so far ahead of the field, Woo only needed to stay in front of Peng and the bronze would have been his. But Peng, the 2017 world champion in this event, leapfrogged Woo with 76.80 points in his final dive, his best score of the day, and finished with 415 points.