Cao Yuan of China produced a series of stunning dives on his way to clinching gold ©Getty Images

Cao Yuan maintained China's dominance of the diving events at Rio 2016 as he sealed the gold medal in the men's three metres springboard with a near faultless display at the Maria Lenk Aquatic Center today.

The 21-year-old took full advantage of a wide-open competition following the surprise elimination of world champion and compatriot He Chao yesterday and London 2012 gold medallist Ilya Zharkov of Russia at the semi-final stage to take the title on a formidable total of 547.60.

Cao, 10m synchronised gold medallist at London 2012, led the way from start to finish, with four of his six dives scoring over the 90-point mark as he topped the podium ahead of Jack Laugher of Britain.

Laugher, who won gold earlier on at the Games in the three metres synchronised event with Chris Meares, was also in good form but couldn't get anywhere near the Chinese, ending comfortably adrift on a score of 523.85.

The Briton was left to rue a below-par dive in round four, where he could only muster 76.50 following an error-prone entry into the water.

Patrick Hausding, who was second in the 10m synchronised event in Beijing eight years ago, totalled 498.90 to ensure he secured the third and final available place on the podium.

Britain's Jack Laugher claimed his second medal at Rio 2016 by finishing with silver ©Getty Images
Britain's Jack Laugher claimed his second medal at Rio 2016 by finishing with silver ©Getty Images

Cao's triumph means China have now claimed gold in five of the six diving events to be held at Rio 2016 thus far, with the historic achievement from Laugher and Meares the only blot on an otherwise perfect record for the country.

"This is a great motivation to finally win a second medal at the Olympics four years after I won my first one," said Cao. 

"This is an individual medal."

"This time I think in all aspects I'm a lot more experienced and a lot more mature both in terms of psychologically and physically. 

"When I first started doing springboard there weren't a lot of athletes ready to do the springboard, and for me it seemed a very natural progression."