Already crowned Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series champion, Britain's Gary Hunt closed the 2014 season in style with a dominant victory at the Ik Kil Cenote deep in ancient Mayan heartland of Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula.
Rather than take things easy after wrapping up the title in Bilbao, Spain, last month, Hunt unleashed his most difficult dive at the natural wonder – the Triple Quad, with a degree of difficulty of 6.2.
His near-perfect execution of the dive saw the judges produce 9s and the Englishman notch a grand total of 500.00 points to claim the win over Russia's Artem Silchenko (451.60) by nearly 50 points, with American David Colturi (451.30) just pipped into third by .30 points.
The win in Mexico marked Hunt's fourth victory out of seven World Series events in 2014, proving he's a very worthy champion for a third time.
This year, the level has gone up again
"I really wanted to win here after twice winning the World Series and not being on top of the podium at the final event. I wanted it so much and on the platform I really felt the nerves, so I'm over the moon that I got it. Losing the title last year was a big motivation for me. I wouldn't be the diver that I am today if I had not suffered that disappointment. It was such a big motivational force for me to train and improve.
"This year, the level has gone up again, most notably Steven LoBue has got more consistent and David Colturi has learnt the Triple Quad as well. Everyone is talking about dives they want to learn and everyone is improving. I feel lucky to be part of this group of divers continuing to push the sport."
With only the top-five divers qualifying automatically for next year's championship, and the top-four of Hunt, Silchenko, Steven LoBue and Orlando Duque having a sufficient points cushion, the battle was on between Blake Aldridge, Jonathan Paredes and David Colturi to grab the last spot. Colturi had the most points to make up, but dove exceptionally to score a podium and leapfrog his rivals to snatch the all-important final qualifying spot for 2015. For the other athletes, a qualifier in Colombia next February awaits.
"I'm on top of the world right now. I came here knowing that I had a chance, but that I had to dive very well and it all came together," said a delighted Colturi after the event. "I might have missed my last dive a little bit, but it was enough to get third place on the podium and fifth place overall so I'm ecstatic. I did some good dives today and was feeling really confident. I was in seventh coming into the competition so had quite a bit of ground to make up, but I knew I could do it. I've got some big things planned for the off-season so I can come in strong for 2015!"
Red Bull Cliff Diving Mexico Results
1. Gary Hunt (UK )500.00pts
2. Artem Silchenko (RUS) 451.60
3. David Colturi (USA) 451.30
4. Michal Navratil (CZE) 442.25
5. Andy Jones (USA) 435.00
6. Orlando Duque (COL) 426.10
7. Jucelino Junior (BRA) 408.05
8. Jonathan Paredes (MEX) 401.65
9. Kris Kolanus (POL) 298.10
10. Christian Arayon (COL) 276.14
2014 Red Bull Cliff Diving Final Standings
1. Gary Hunt 1110 points
2. Artem Silchenko 840
3. Steven LoBue 680
4. Orlando Duque 660
5. David Colturi 610
6. Jonathan Paredes 590
7. Michal Navratil 570
8. Blake Aldridge 560
9. Andy Jones 350
10. Kris Kolanus 349
Jungle Queen Simpson claims Cliff Diving title
American Rachelle Simpson conquered the mythical Ik Kil cenote at the third and final stop of the women's tour to become the first ever Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series women's champion.
After victory at the previous two rounds in her home state of Texas and Norway, the 26-year-old made it a hat-trick of wins over local Mexican wildcard Adriana Jimenez and fellow American Ginger Leigh Huber to wrap up the title in style, and leave no-one in any doubt as to who is the world's best female diver.
Showing her ability to adapt to unique diving demands and perform to her best in the face of huge pressure, Simpson's winning dive from 20m up in jungle canopy into the dark waters of the Ik Kil sink-hole scored 208.70pts, besting the impressive Jimenez's score of 201.90 by a clear seven points.
This has been the best location so far – it feels really intimate
"I'm so happy. It's an indescribable feeling to have won the first Women's World Series," said Simpson after her emotional victory. "I was ill yesterday so I was very nervous at the start, but the first two dives went very well. By the time the third one came round I had nothing left and I ended up being a bit short. I was a bit worried after that one that I might not win, but it proved enough! This has been the best location so far – it feels really intimate and after Texas and Norway it’s a great way to finish the season. I’m already thinking about next year."
Jimenez, from Mexico City, made her home-country appearance count with a brilliant series of dives that not only netted her best result of the series, but also pushed her up to third overall in the championship behind Germany's six-time European champion Anna Bader, qualifying her for the 2015 series outright – a championship she will be a real threat for.
Results Red Bull Cliff Diving Mexico
1. Rachelle Simpson (USA) 208.70pts
2. Adriana Jimenez (MEX) 201.90
3. Ginger Leigh Huber (USA) 185.45
4. Cesilie Carlton (USA) 83.90
5. Tara Hyer-Tira (USA) 167.80
6. Anna Bader (GER) 158.00
7. Jacqueline Valente (BRA) 152.30
8. Lysanne Richard (CAN) 139.60
Final Championship Standings
1. Rachelle Simpson 600pts
2. Anna Bader 390
3. Adriana Jimenez 360
4. Ginger Leigh Huber 330
5. Cesilie Carlton 290
5. Tara Hyer-Tira 290
7. Jacqueline Valente 190
8. Yana Nestsiarava 60
9. Lysanne Richard 50
For exclusive interviews and video content from Mexico head over to RedBullCliffDiving.com.
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