Diving is always dominated by the team from China, and Saturday was no exception: Zheng Zhiqun captured the gold medal with 607.65 points, and Huang Bowen took the silver with 586.80. Tian-yi's total was 559.20.
Tian-yi, 15, who was born in Hong Kong and is currently based in Beijing for training and studies, told Young Post he was "a bit excited" after learning he had won the bronze medal.
"I was quite nervous when I practised at this venue after arriving in Nanjing," he said. "I also felt the pressure today, but it didn't affect me much. I tried not to think about the medal when I dived today. I was just trying for perfection on every dive."
It was fairly clear from the preliminary round that Tian-yi wasn't going to upset either of the top two Chinese divers. After his first 10 dives, he had scored 500.30 points, and was well behind Huang (571.50) and Zheng (568.10). And his hold on third place was shaky, as the fourth-place diver, Muhammad Sabri of Malaysia, trailed by only 13.15 points with the five-dive finals to go.
But Tian-yi remembered his instructions from coach Gordon Ng Kwok-tung, who was in Nanjing for the competition, and maintained his good form in the finals. In fact, he actually increased his lead over Sabri, who finished 17.80 points behind and held on to fourth place.
Hong Kong's rising star was awarded his bronze medal by Timothy Fok Tsun-ting, vice-president of the Olympic Council of Asia and president of the Sports Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China.
Tian-yi finished his weekend of competition by coming fourth in the 10-metre platform on Sunday, finishing with 287.85 points. Two Chinese athletes Yue Qi and Zeng Jiajie, took gold and silver, and Ri Hyonju of North Korea won the bronze.
The month before the Games was rather hectic for Tian-yi, who is a Form Three student at the High School Affiliated to Renmin University of China in Beijing. "In my daily routine, I trained in the morning and studied in the afternoon," he said. "I had been preparing for the Games for more than a month."
Tian-yi didn't really want to talk about the future, such as if he hopes to compete in the Asian Games or even the Olympic Games. "I will give my full effort and perform to the best of my ability," he said.