Successful Hunt for gold

Kazan 2015 - HD

After chasing for so long the gold medal, Gary Hunt (GBR) finally got the world title in Kazan (RUS), winning the men’s High Diving competition, with a total of 629.30 points. The British star (31 years old) had been second in both the 2013 Worlds in Barcelona (ESP) and last year, also at the Kazanka venue, during the first edition of the FINA High Diving World Cup. On both occasions, Hunt finished second to Orlando Duque, from Colombia, who made some mistakes in Russia and could not enter the podium (he was sixth) Normally praised for his consistency, Duque was quite regular in the last two rounds of the competition, but was not so solid in the inaugural three dives on Day 1. This time, Hunt did everything almost perfect and successfully allied solid execution with very high degrees of difficulty in his combinations.

Also in the podium in Barcelona 2013, Jonathan Paredes, from Mexico, upgraded his bronze to silver, also displaying a very challenging programme, concluding his performances in Kazan with a total of 596.45 points. At the two editions of the World Cup (Kazan 2014 and Cozumel 2015), the Mexican star had been fifth, each time behind Duque, Hunt, Steve LoBue (USA) and Artem Silchenko (RUS).

The Russian star was precisely the third best man of the day, getting the bronze in 593.95. Fourth one year ago, also in front of a cheering crowd, Silchenko has made a steady progression since then, and was already silver medallist at the 2015 World Cup. Thanks to a very solid last dive (back 3 somersaults 3 twists pike, DD 5.6), the 31-year-old climbed from the fourth to the third position, also benefiting from a not-so successful final attempt from David Colturi, from the USA.

The final outcome in Kazan and the results in the last two rounds came after an outstanding first day, on August 3, when all divers made their first three dives from the 27m platform. At the end of it, three men were in the lead: Hunt, Colturi and Paredes. And in all three cases, their first performances at these World Championships were simply amazing: none of them had marks below 8.5, proving that the level was extremely high. The difference was, as it often happens, in the choice of the combinations and the consequent Degree of Difficulty associated to it. On this matter, the British star presented a superb 5268B (back 3 somersaults 4 twists, DD 6.2) and got an outstanding 161.20 points for it, consolidating his provisional lead at 381.80. Both Colturi and Paredes were more “modest”, with the North American performing a dive worth a DD of 5.6 (for 142.80 points) and the Mexican going up to a DD of 5.1 (for a well-executed dive scored 130.05 points).

Gary Hunt (GBR) flying over Kazan - Photo credit: Giorgio Scala/Deepbluemedia

Orlando Duque was not as good as usual and had some challenges with his second and third combinations and entered into the last decisive day in the 11th position, with 319.65 points, far from the trio leading the race. This disadvantage proved to be too hard to recover in the final session.


Gary Hunt (GBR, gold):
“I had high notes on my first four dives, and you want to remain like that, but I did not finish as strong as I wanted. In Barcelona, two years ago, I have also made a big mistake on my last dive, but today was much less serious. After this victory, I will of course celebrate, but in two weeks I have another competition, so I have to remain in shape”.

“I started diving at 9, and at that time, just the 1m springboard was already scary for me. Then, I got to the 10m and I started to control the situation; finally, I wanted to go higher and look where I am now! On the new possibilities in High Diving, I try to do always better and having more time in the air than in pool diving, we are not close of reaching the limit in terms of Degree of Difficulty”.

“How do we train? There isn’t any facility in the world with 27m, so we all basically train in 10m platform. Of course, we have to do the adaptation to the higher board when the competition arrives, but that’s why High Diving has a very strong mental component. When I began in pool diving, and after the training sessions, I used to practice many first-feet entry dives, so without knowing it, I was already training for High Diving. I presently train with the French national team in France”.

The medallists of the men's High Diving competition - Photo credit: Giorgio Scala/Deepbluemedia

Jonathan Paredes (MEX, silver): “I’ve been preparing for this competition for a long time. In fact, after Barcelona 2013, I wanted to do better, and here I am, with this silver medal. I am very happy for it, as we were today all fighting for the silver medal. Gary is on another level, I would say that he is like our Chinese of High Diving, meaning that his domination in this competition was overwhelming”.

“My only regret today is that I cannot share this podium with my great friend, almost my ‘father’ with different blood, Orlando Duque from Colombia. Orlando is part of this sport, he is a legend and my greatest inspiration”.

“I started this discipline at 15, when I was invited to perform some diving shows. I was jumping from 17/18m platforms and I fell in love with this sport. Then, in 2011, I was invited by these great guys to join their circuit, and from there I am now in the group of the best in the world. Today’s silver is a dream come true, I really fought for this second place”.

“After my medal in Barcelona, I got support from my National Federation and the Government of Mexico. Diving in my country is the second sport after football, so I needed to confirm or improve this medal in Kazan to continue receiving this important help”.

Artem Silchenko (RUS, bronze): “It was a very difficult competition, with a big fight for medals. I’m happy to be in this group that reached the podium. I sincerely hope that my performances will help promoting High Diving in Russia and create more conditions for other athletes to excel in this discipline”.

“We are not crazy people! We are normal athletes that love very much what we do and that control their body 100%”.