AKUATIK. In the third and final day of the high diving competition, Colombian Orlando Duque became the first man to claim the high diving world champion title in the event premiere at a FINA World Swimming Championships in front of more than 10,000 spectators.
Orlando Duque will go down in history as the male athlete to claim the first High Diving World Champion title ever.
The Colombian diver only managed to extend his advantage in points on round five after a very tight closing competition day. The first three rounds ended up with four athletes tied in the first position on 102.60 points: Briton Gary Hunt, Russian Artem Silchenko, Mexican Jonathan Paredes and Ukrainian Anatolii Shabotenko.
An also very even fourth round saw the majority of participants display the most difficult dives of their repertoire, and a triple somersault with four twists gave Gary Hunt 170.10 points lifting him up to the first position. Matt Cowen (135, 10), Jonathan Paredes (129, 85) and Orlando Duque (129, 60) where second, third and fourth classified after four rounds.
It all came down to round five, where a poorly executed four somersaults with one and a half twists dive by Gary Hunt made him lose the lead to Orlando Duque. The Colombian diver got the maximum score with 142.80 points –only 0.90 points more than Hunt - after performing a triple back somersault with three twists, followed by Jonathan Paredes (132.60) and Michal Navratil (119.60), thus becoming the first male athlete to win a World Championship ever. Gary Hunt commented on his last jump: "I failed when hitting the water. I was too focused on the start. The water approaches so quickly when you are falling at 80km/h …I got it wrong by just a second. "
Duque, who’s 38 years old, became today the second diver this age to win a medal at a World Championships together with American Ginger Huber, who claimed silver in the women’s event. "Being the champion of the first edition of this 15th FINA World Championships is fantastic. It's amazing, "said Duque in the mixed zone. The podium was completed by Gary Hunt, who won silver with 589.30 points, and Jonathan Paredes, bronze with 578.35 points.
The first High Diving event of a World Championships exceeded the expectations in its premiere at Barcelona 2013. Now it shall be decided whether it becomes a regular event in FINA tournaments to come.