Gary Hunt (GBR) and Rhiannan Iffland (AUS) were the best at the 2018 FINA High Diving World Cup, organized on November 9-10 in Abu Dhabi (UAE). Hunt earned gold in 431.55 and obtained his third consecutive title in the competition, after previous successes in 2016 and 2017, also in the capital of the United Arab Emirates. Iffland finished the four-dive final in 322.95, getting her first win in the World Cup.
Gary Hunt, also the 2015 world champion, was second after the first day of competition, but performing flawlessly this Saturday – he never got marks under 9.0 from the judges – the British star managed to keep his main challengers at bay. The minor medals went to two newcomers in the high diving circuit, Romania’s Constantin Popovici (silver in 424.65) and to Ukraine’s Oleksiy Prygorov (bronze in 392.30).
The leader after the initial session, Mexico’s Jonathan Paredes, was not successful on the last day and concluded in seventh. Steve LoBue (USA), the world champion in 2017 in Budapest (HUN) was also not so inspired in Abu Dhabi and was only sixth. Alessandro De Rose (ITA), bronze medallist in the Magyar capital last year, could not do better than ninth. Between LoBue and the podium, Michal Navratil (CZE, silver at the Worlds) was fourth, while Kris Kolanus (POL) largely improved his 2017 ranking in the World Cup – from 12th, he was now fifth. Finally, Orlando Duque (COL), gold medalist in 2014 and 2015, got injured after the first dive and could not complete the event.
In the women’s category, Iffland upgraded her silver from 2017 – she had finished behind Adriana Jimenez, from Mexico, absent this year due to injury -, and presented four solid and very consistent dives throughout the competition. The silver (285.75) went to Lysanne Richard, from Canada, winner of the event in 2016, while the bronze (277.70) also went to a newcomer in the circuit, US Ellie Smart.
The 2018 FINA High Diving World Cup was a qualification event for the 2019 FINA World Championships in Gwangju (KOR), with the first 12 men and first eight women being automatically selected for the FINA showcase in Korea. The remaining places will be allocated at the 2019 edition of the World Cup.
Medalists in Abu Dhabi (UAE):
1. Gary Hunt (GBR), 431.55; 2. Constantin Popovici (ROU), 424.65; 3. Oleksiy Prygorov (UKR), 392.30
1. Rhiannan Iffland (AUS), 322.95; 2. Lysanne Richard (CAN), 285.75; 3. Eleanor Smart (USA), 277.70
Winners of the past World Cups:
2014 – Men: Orlando Duque (COL); Women: Rachelle Simpson (USA)
2015 – Men: Orlando Duque (COL); Women: Rachelle Simpson (USA)
2016 – Men: Gary Hunt (GBR); Women: Lysanne Richard (CAN)
2017 – Men: Gary Hunt (GBR); Women: Adriana Jimenez (MEX)