Training commenced in Australia this week ahead of the Red Bull Cliff Diving qualifier which starts on Thursday, February 2, and ends on Saturday, February 4, with four places in the 2012 World Series up for grabs!
The 15 divers arrived in Sydney before travelling to the nearby Hawkesbury River in New South Wales to practice on a 27.5-metre-high platform.
Ahead of the serious business of competition, a round of golf played at Cattai's Riverside Oaks Resort, on the banks of the river, decided the diving order for Thursday.
The athletes are still perfecting their dives, but, with Thursday's performances constituting half of the final result, the pressure is on to get it right.
US diver Kent De Mond said. “The first competition of the season is always tough, but now everyone has gotten their dives off and everybody feels a lot more comfortable. I feel pretty good. My main thing was to make sure that I get my line-up and the entry right, the rest of the dives, the top and then in the air, is always the easy part; I just need to make sure I line them up and then I am happy.”
“After two and a half months it’s scary to dive from 27m again,” admitted Sasha Kutsenko. “I was really nervous and I did only one dive today. I feel a lot better now, especially as I put down my new dive. I did the back handstand 2 1/2 somersault with 3 twists for the first time in my life. It felt good; I only was a bit short at the end. I will definitely use this dive for the competition tomorrow.”
Hassan Mouti, returning to competition after missing the end of the 2011 World Series, said: “I was really scared. A lot more than normal, because I thought again about my crash in Athens. But today I had to go for it and I practiced a lot, way more than in the last few years. As soon as I took off, I felt comfortable. Still, I have some difficulty lining up, but I am really happy. Of course I want to be in the top four, but my main goal was to get back up there and do it again, because there was a point when I thought to myself that I’d stop diving. And it wasn’t only me who thought that. Today I proved to the people and myself that I can make it and I am really happy about that.”
Planning to attend the event? Visit Red Bull Cliff Diving’s Facebook page for all the latest