A flotilla of hundreds of small rubber boats, surfboards and home-made rafts crowded onto Lake Lucerne on Saturday afternoon as 5,000 people flocked to watch the closest result in the series so far – in the end, just 1.95 points separated first and third place. In the penultimate round, victory went to Artem Silchenko, who defeated the winner of the previous round (Hamburg), Gary Hunt and nine times world champion Orlando Duque. With just nine points between them, Duque and Hunt are still battling for the overall title.
Silchenko’s second dive scored the only nine that the judges awarded throughout the whole competition. “It’s great to be back on the podium with another first place after my victory in Turkey. I trained so hard every day and belief in my capacities. In fact I am pretty sure that I have now reached my best shape. I can’t wait to get to Greece, where I will fight again for victory and finish the World Series as well as possible.” Another 25-year-old finished second – Englishman Gary Hunt took his seventh podium in as many competitions just 1.20pts behind Silchenko and a week after his spectacular maiden win in Hamburg. Third-placed Orlando Duque was only 0,75pts behind.
The only fresh water stop of the series was staged in a classic alpine setting in the tiny village of Sisikon. Surrounded by the towering Swiss Alps, some of whose peaks are already covered with snow after heavy rainfalls during the night, the 26m-high diving platform was fixed on the same solid rock face that Swiss folk hero William Tell is said to used as a means of escape some 700 years ago.
After seven rounds the fight for the overall title has never been tighter: current leader Duque’s 22-point lead has been steadily narrowed down by Hunt. Today’s result brings the margin down to nine points. The Englishman is now the only diver still in the contention for the first Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series championship besides the Colombian, who has been leading since the third stop in Dubrovnik, July 11.
The grand final will be held in the cradle of competitive sports when the series moves to Athens in Greece for the last round on September 20, 2009.