BARCELONA (Reuters) - Russia's Svetlana Romashina won her first solo synchronized world championship gold when she comfortably beat off Chinese and Spanish competition to clinch the technical title in Barcelona on Saturday.
Previously overshadowed by her more illustrious compatriot Natalia Ishchenko, who has won all three solo technical golds on offer since the event was introduced in 2007 but who is taking a sabbatical, Romashina scored 96.800 points with a powerful routine at the Palau Sant Jordi.
China's Xuechen Huang was second with 95.500 points, matching her silver medal from Shanghai two years ago, and local favorite Ona Carbonell of Spain took bronze with 94.400 points.
"Of course it's not easy to be compared with Natalia Ishchenko, she's an inspiration for us," Romashina, a three-times Olympic champion, told reporters.
"The last time I performed a solo routine was in 2004 but I guess the solo was always in my mind since then," added the 24-year-old. "I'm very happy I won this medal tonight."
The solo technical, which is not part of the Olympics, requires swimmers to perform six elements in a given sequence over two minutes.
(Writing by Iain Rogers in Madrid, editing by Alison Wildey)