FINA HIGH DIVING WORLD CUP 2017
36 athletes (23 men and 13 women), representing 17 nations, are ready to compete in the fourth edition of the FINA High Diving World Cup, taking place in Abu Dhabi (UAE) on April 28-29, 2017. It is the second consecutive time this competition is visiting the capital of the United Arab Emirates, after a 2016 edition was successfully held in this Middle East country.
The reigning champions in this event, respectively Gary Hunt (GBR) among men and Lysanne Richard (CAN) in the womenâ€™s field, are in the start list for this year. But many other stars of the discipline are also present in Abu Dhabi, such as Orlando Duque (COL), the first FINA world champion in 2013, Jonathan Paredes (MEX), second last year in this competition, Artem Silchenko (RUS), 2015 bronze world medallist, or Steve Lobue (USA), third at the 2015 World Cup.
Among women, the 2016 medallists are all in Abu Dhabi â€“ besides Richard, Helena Merten (AUS, silver) and Ginger Huber (USA, bronze) are competing in the superb venue at Yas Island. Yana Nestsiarava (BLR), 2015 bronze world medallist, Anna Bader (GER), third at the 2013 Worlds and second at the 2015 World Cup, and Cesilie Carlton (USA), 2013 world champion, are all fighting for the top positions in UAE. The greatest absent in Rachelle Simpson (USA, injured), winner of the 2014 and 2015 World Cup and the current world champion.
In the Press Conference introducing the event, Orlando Duque and Gary Hunt expressed their satisfaction for being once more in Abu Dhabi.
â€œSince the end of the Red Bull circuit last year, the focus of my preparation has been this competitionâ€, said the British star. Asked if he had additional pressure to defend his title, Hunt was clear: â€œThis sport is very personal. When you are there, at the edge of the platform, you just think about the way of executing the dive. When I am training, I am not training to beat the other divers, I know my body and I know the potential I have and the question is just to get to that potential. Itâ€™s obviously good to be on the podium, but the question is to constantly improveâ€.
The Colombian legend, now at 42, underlined the fact that this event is a qualifier for the upcoming edition of the FINA World Championships, taking place from July 14-30 in Budapest (HUN). In fact, the top 18 men and all 13 women entered in Abu Dhabi will earn their ticket to be present in the Magyar capital.
â€œItâ€™s an important competition for High Diving, as it qualifies for the World Championships. The venue is very nice, and we have a warm and good temperature. Last year, we had a great event, I hope it will be the sameâ€, considered Orlando Duque. Third in 2016, the Colombian admitted: â€œI hope to do a bit better. The water feels nice and soft. When itâ€™s cold and windy the body is not work properly; here we donâ€™t have to worry with that â€“ the environment is really excellentâ€.
Cornel Marculescu, FINA Executive Director, also emphasised the good conditions in the capital of UAE. â€œItâ€™s a great pleasure for FINA and for the High Diving family to be back in Abu Dhabi once more. This city is a true international sport city and we want, by bringing Aquatics here, to contribute to that statusâ€.
While Tom Gompf, Chairman of the FINA Technical High Diving Committee, underlined the â€œbest tower divers had the opportunity to competeâ€, Talal Al Hashemi, Technical Affair Director at the Abu Dhabi Sports Council, considered that this event â€œwill attract the eyes of the world to this spectacular disciplineâ€.
The programme (men – 27m platform; women – 20m platform) of the 4th FINA High Diving World Cup in Abu Dhabi (UAE) will unfold as follows (hours in local time):
13h00-14h00 â€“ Womenâ€™s competition (rounds 1-2)
15h00-16h30 â€“ Menâ€™s competition (rounds 1-2)
13h00-14h00 â€“ Womenâ€™s competition (rounds 3-4)
15h00-16h40 â€“ Menâ€™s competition (rounds 3-4)
16h45-17h00 â€“ Award Ceremonies
Press release from FINA