RED BULL CLIFF DIVING FINAL: Home win for Hunt after dramatic finale
5:35pm Saturday 14th September 2013 in News
BRITAIN'S Gary Hunt ensured there was a home winner in the latest Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series event after securing a thrilling victory at Abereiddy.
Southampton based Hunt entered the final round in fifth position, and after propelling himself into first place, endured a nervous wait as the competition went down to the very last dive.
But Russia's Artem Silchenko came up agonisingly short and Hunt was able to celebrate in front of a delighted crowd at the Blue Lagoon.
Silchenko finished second, with Colombia's Orlando Duque third.
Speaking to the Western Telegraph afterwards, Hunt said: "I'm delighted.
"I made no secret of how desperate I was to win here. To perform at the top of your sport in front of a home crowd is the chance of a lifetime for any athlete.
"When you have support like I had today, it can really inspire you to do great things."
Indeed, with weather conditions perfect following yesterday's rain, a much bigger crowd packed into Abereiddy, and were again treated to a display from the two 'Red Bull Matador' aeroplanes before the competitive action got underway.
And then there was plenty for fans to cheer about as the three British divers, Hunt, Blake Aldridge and Matt Cowan, all advanced into the final round.
They were joined by Silchenko, Duque, Jonathan Paredes (Mexico), wild card entry Andy Jones (USA) and last year's winner Steven LoBue (USA).
It was then that Hunt produced his best dive of the weekend to finish with an overall score of 510.90, which included a perfect 10 from one of the judges for his final effort.
After Silchenko's last dive there was a tense few seconds as the competitors waited for the scores to be calculated,before the Russian was awarded an overall score of 509.25.
Cowen finished fifth, while Aldridge was seventh.
And following the conclusion, the three British divers sent the crowd into raptures when they performed a triple dive off the 27 metre platform.
Hunt said he was unable to take his eyes off the closing stages: "After I finished I watched every dive and was trying to calculate the scores. It was such a tight battle and credit to Artem, he's been strong all weekend."
However, despite extending his lead at the top of the World Series, the 29-year-old rebuffed suggestions the championship was over ahead of the last two meetings in Brazil and Thailand:
"The series is definitely not decided.
"Artem will battle me to the end and I wouldn't rule Orlando out either."
Duque himself praised the venue: "It is perfect.
"The weather today was great which helped, but I love it here."
Aldridge, who competed alongside Tom Daley in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, added: "The surroundings here are ideal. I have been here twice now and this is the best run, and best organised event in the series. It's brilliant."
With the overwhelming success of the event, Red Bull officials have already indicated they expect the venue to be used again next year.
1 - Gary Hunt, UK, 510.90.
2 - Artem Silchenko, Russia, 509.25.
3 - Orlando Duque, Colombia, 478.90.
4 - Jonathan Paredes, Mexico, 462.75.
5 - Matt Cowen, UK, 459.60.
6 - Andy Jones, USA, 426.65.
7 - Blake Aldridge, UK, 407.95.
8 - Steven LoBue, USA, 404.65.
9 - David Colturi, USA, 305.20.
10 - Michal Navratil, Czezh Republic, 301.30.
11 - Alessandro De Rose, Italy, 276.90.
12 - Kris Kolanus, Poland, 259.20.
13 - Cyrille Oumedjkane, France, 230.80.
14 - Igor Semashko, Russia, 105.30.