0.1 points decided the winner of Saturday’s third stop of the 2012 World Series on the volcanic archipelago of the Azores, Portugal. It was the closest victory to date since the kick-off of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series in 2009 and made Russia’s Artem Silchenko the third winner in three competitions this season. Orlando Duque (COL) came just behind, in second place, but regained the overall lead of the 2012 World Series. He was followed by World Series champion Gary Hunt (UK). More than 2,000 spectators crowded the waters around the 28m take-off points on the offshore islet of Vila Franca do Campo to watch the 13 athletes go back to the roots and directly off the cliff face in the competition’s first two rounds.
With two 10s from the judges in round two, 28-year-old Artem Silchenko made a first clear statement, but only in his last appearance could he secure his first victory since 2011’s grand finale in Ukraine. He had struggled with his new blind entry dive in the first two competitions and got this 6.1 DD-monster right at the third attempt. “It’s amazing for me! I have won by 0.1 points… that’s half a point from one judge! Wow! I wanted to make my new dive as well as I could. I tried not to think that I could win the competition, I just wanted to do my dive well. I don’t know if having my wife here helped. She wasn’t with me on the platform but when she comes I have a 100 percent record,” the Russian said, in his first statement after winning. Nine-time world champion and winner of the season opener in Corsica, Orlando Duque, placed second in the closest result to date and is back on top of the current overall standings. The day’s highest score of 173.25 points for a single dive went to Englishman Gary Hunt for the hardest dive (6.3) in the World Series. Completing the podium in Portugal, the champion from the past two seasons still sits in second position in the overall rankings.
Gary Hunt (UK) I’m very happy to be on the podium. These are some of the best trophies I’ve seen so I’m delighted to have one! My last dive, the triple quad, was the best it’s been all Series so I’m really pleased. This competition was off the rocks which is not something I’m used to but it was so much fun. I’m really happy for Artem (Silchenko) with his last dive. In the last two competitions, he’s been short of vertical and once over so I was pretty sure that he’d be able to get this one down and he’s knows what he’s doing now. We’ve got a couple of weeks before the next competition in Ireland so I’m going to train hard and be ready for the next comp.