Abu Dhabi: The wind played havoc but it couldn’t stop Great Britain’s Gary Hunt from completing a hat-trick at the Fina High Diving World Cup for men at the Abu Dhabi Sailing and Yacht Club on Saturday.
In the women’s category, Australia’s Rhiannan Iffland clinched her maiden women’s title.
“I was comfortable with the windy conditions but going in to the final dive as the second last competitor I did have to overcome some nervous moments,” said an elated Hunt after the medals ceremony.
Hunt was in the lead after the second last round in the 27-metre dives but still needed to keep up the tempo to claim the top honours. Highly rated for his difficulty manoeuvring, he kept the edge in the final round to maintain his dominance in the sport for the third year in a row. The second place was grabbed by Romanian Constantin Popovici, while the bronze was clinched by Oleksiy Prygorov of Ukraine.
“I had to get a good score to beat and regain the lead. So it was definitely very stressful because those two divers who finished on the podium put up two really good scores on their final dives.
“I had to do the back-triple quad. I was confident with that dive but I still had to go up there and do it, and managed do it well,” added Hunt, who is keen to keep up his good work for as long as possible.
“I haven’t really finalised what my plans are for next year. Abu Dhabi seems a lucky place for me and I would certainly want to be back. I feel stronger than ever and more consistent than ever, but I’m not getting any younger, so I want to make most of these last years that I’ll compete,” said the 34-year-old.
Iffland improved on her silver medal performance from 2017 in women’s category. “To win the World Cup for the first time was really a good achievement for me. It’s always hard to win at this level, so it’s a fantastic feeling. The weather was fine when we competed so that didn’t have much impact on the divers.
“It must have been challenging for the men when the winds picked up but we didn’t have any of that. This is the final competition for the year and I’ll take a break and start preparing for both the World Cup and the World Championship next year,” said a jubilant Iffland.
Canadian Lysanne Richard, the 2016 winner, claimed silver as Ellie Smart of United States settled for bronze.