With a splashless last dive and a score of 335,65 points nine times world champion Orlando Duque from Colombia took the victory at the second stop of the Red Bull Cliff Diving Series 2009. Despite heavy rainfall and strong wind almost 15.000 spectators never took their eyes off the platform mounted 26 metres above the water on a historical crane in the old port of Rotterdam. Second place went to Andrey Ignatenko (UKR), the winner of the series’ kick off competition and – as it was the case in the first stop – young Briton Gary Hunt finished third.
As the water came from above this Saturday afternoon the 34-year old Colombian might have decided that he does not have to add any more; thus Orlando Duque finished his third and last dive without producing any splash water: “This was an absolute perfect dive and everything worked out well for me today! I know I took some more risks by choosing more difficult dives but it was worth. The competition was perfect, despite the cold weather that affected our concentration a little. In the end of the day it is so nice to see we have such a strong fight for the title going on.” The podium in the Dutch city of Rotterdam was occupied by the same divers as in the first leg of the series. Only this time it was Andrey Ignatenko from the Ukraine to take the second position with a total score of 300,20. The third position seems to be in British hands – Gary Hunt (287,95) was unlucky in the first round but performed a spectacular last dive which secured him another podium.
After two tour stops the Colombian manifold world champion has drawn level with his leading Ukrainian contestant in the overall rankings and the 25-year old British diver being third.
A country without mountains, cliffs or ravines would, in principle, be the most improbable scenario for a cliff diving competition – a radical sport so highly demanding that it is only practised by a small elite. However, in a flat land such as the Netherlands the country’s first international high diving competition was most welcomed and heavy rainfall and cold wind in the beginning of the competition proved the Dutch people well equipped and used to these conditions. The audience’s excitement was not influenced and uncountable umbrellas and rain ponchos covered the area around the Leuvehaven in Rotterdam. The divers had a hard time climbing up the ship crane’s 100 wet and cold ranks in order to reach the platform. Dealing with the gusts of wind was just another challenge they had to deal with.
For the next stop of the Red Bull Cliff Diving Series 2009 the twelve divers will travel to the waters of the Adriatic Sea, where the monumental Croatian city of Dubrovnik promises to maintain the originality of the settings chosen for this competition on July 11.