Youth and experience will be pitted against one another in the first stop of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series after the opening round of competition in Corsica set the scene for Saturday's final.
In a hot but very breezy Bonifacio, Orlando Duque (pictured, above) performed a flying reverse for nines from the judges to finish in first place after Round One, with the Colombian returning to the top in his first event since suffering an ankle injury last year.
David Colturi, the winner of the 2012 qualification and a diver tipped to make a big impression on this year’s Series, came up short, or rather over, on a double half and finished the first day in 14th, meaning the young American will face Duque in Saturday's head-to-head.
"Going up against a nine-time world champ is definitely a little bit daunting!" said Colturi. "It wouldn’t have been my first pick for the first comp but it’s all about gaining experience and I think this will make me a better cliff diver."
"It’s the first head-to-head and I have to face the best diver on the planet!" said Czech Navratil. "It’s going to be a big, big challenge for me!"
While the new head-to-head format could throw up a number of surprises, UK champion Hunt insists that it won’t change his preparation.
“When I’m stood on that platform I’m ready to go," he said. "I’m not thinking about Michal or anyone else who I might be diving against. I need to get my dives right – that’s what matters.”
Get more reaction to the first day of competition dives on the Red Bull Audio Player.
Scores from Round One:
1. Orlando Duque (COL) 95.40pts
2. Artem Silchenko (RUS) 88.20pts
3. Michal Navratil (CZE) 86.40pts
4. Cyrille Oumedjkane (FRA) 86.40pts
5. Steven LoBue (USA) 84.60pts
6. Anatoliy Shabotenko (UKR) 84.60pts
7. Kent De Mond (USA) 82.80pts
8. Hassan Mouti (FRA) 81.00pts
9. Blake Aldridge (UK) 79.20pts
10. Jorge Ferzuli (MEX) 79.20pts
11. Alain Kohl (LUX) 73.80pts
12. Gary Hunt (UK) 63.00pts
13. Kyle Mitrione (USA) 61.20pts
14. David Colturi (USA) 59.40pts
Orlando Duque (1st) v David Colturi (14th)
Artem Silchenko (2nd) v Kyle Mitrione (13th)
Michal Navratil (3rd) v Gary Hunt (12th)
Cyrille Oumedjkane (4th) v Alain Kohl (11th)
Steven LoBue (5th) v Jorge Ferzuli (10th)
Anatoliy Shabotenko (6th) v Blake Aldridge (9th)
Kent De Mond (7th) v Hassan Mouti (8th)
The first competition in the 2012 World Series takes place in Bonifacio, on the French island of Corsica, on Saturday, June 23. Check redbullcliffdiving.com and facebook.com/redbullcliffdiving for all the news, photos and videos