Brilliant Brit Gary Hunt emerged victorious in the fifth stop in the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series in Malcesine, Italy, on Sunday to increase his lead at the top of the overall standings.
Despite being the defending Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series champion, Hunt had previously struggled to produce his best form in the Italian leg of the Series, but he put that right this time by recording a narrow victory over Artem Silchenko.
After previous visits to the southern Italian town of Polignano a Mare, in 2009 and 2010, the 2011 World Series travelled north to Lake Garda and the Scaliger Castle and it was Silchenko who led after three rounds of the competition.
The Russian diver opted for a back armstand with two and a half somersaults and two twists which had a DD of 5.7 for his fourth round dive, but he was unable to score highly enough to defeat Hunt.
The Brit performed his complex Triple Quad, with a DD of 6.3, and it proved to be just enough to earn the win ahead of Silchenko in second and Michal Navratil in third.
"I feel really happy," Hunt said. "I thought I had blown it there with the last dive, but it seemed to be enough. I am happy with my new required dive and I will go on working on the entries. I am also thinking about adding another twist to my quad one and a half twist, but I haven’t decided yet."
"Today Artem [Silchenko] showed that he is an incredible diver and Michal [Navratil] is the most improved diver. There are lots of divers that can still catch up."
Mexican newcomer Jonathan Paredes enjoyed a fine event in his first appearance since Mexico by not only making the final six, but almost making the podium and he was naturally delighted.
"I couldn’t be happier," Paredes said. "This year is just great! My second time at the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series and I made it into the finals. Awesome!"
The next stop in the Series takes place in Boston, USA, on August 20.
Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series – Malcesine, Italy, results
1. Gary Hunt | GBR | 459.90 pts
2. Artem Silchenko | RUS | 449.35
3. Michal Navratil | CZE | 413.35
4. Jonathan Paredes | MEX | 411.70
5. Alain Kohl | LUX | 394.10
6. Slava Polyeshchuk | UKR | 391.50
7. Kent De Mond | USA | 290.80
8. Gennadiy Kutsenko | UKR | 277.20
9. Cyrille Oumedjkane | FRA | 275.40
10. Steven LoBue | USA | 254.50
11. Sacha Kutsenko | UKR | 250.20
12. Hassan Mouti | FRA | 228.25
13. Jorge Ferzuli | MEX | 193.15