Like ants on the hill 40.000 spectators crowded the cliffs along the Ataturk Park in Antalya this Saturday afternoon to see Russian high diver Artem Silchenko climb the top podium at the fifth stop of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series 2009. The newly wed 25-year-old withstood the hot temperatures and high humidity in Turkey’s south and was rewarded with raging applause of thousands of countrymen spending their holidays on the Turkish Riviera.
A new continent - after four stops in Europe, the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series 2009 was hosted in Asia – produced a new winner: in the series’ most exotic location young gun Artem Silchenko from Voronezh in Russia took the top podium ahead of tour leader and nine times world champion Orlando Duque from Colombia. “I felt rather comfortable and fit after yesterday’s training and thought there might be a slight possibility to win. I had a good start and was already some points ahead after the second round; however, I was really nervous before my last dive. Finally I performed well and now I am just happy. It’s the perfect wedding present for my wife as we are on honeymoon!” With 31.95 points ahead of second placed Duque, the Russian gave the final prove of his great high diving talent, which was spotted in 2006 for the first time when he surprisingly became cliff diving world champion.
The overall ranking’s leader board stays unchanged with the Colombian Orlando Duque in the lead (92pts), followed by Englishman Gary Hunt (71pts), who performed a back quadruple somersault twisting triple (6.2 DD) which has never been done before, not even in Olympic diving, and today’s winner Artem Silchenko (66pts).
In Turkey’s holiday hot spot – 1.5 million tourists are currently spending their vacations in Antalya – an impressive platform 26 metres above sea level stood not only out of the rocky landscape but was a touristic attraction itself. Numerous tour boats crowded the sea below the divers’ take-off spot, sun seekers watched from the distant beach and a total of 40.000 spectators turned the high diving location in Antalya’s Ataturk Park into a hustle and bustle, typical for oriental bazaars.