Iffland smashes records as Hunt gains first straight 10 in Lebanon

Courtesy of Red Bull Media Service Team

New Red Bull Cliff Diving venue sees historic wins for reigning champions.

Reigning champions Gary Hunt (GBR) and Rhiannan Iffland (AUS) created Red Bull Cliff Diving history at Lebanon’s debut as they continue to dominate with commanding wins. Here is all you need to know:

– Following a day when high waves around the Pigeon Rocks at the Raouché forced a schedule cut to one dive, the men and women of the World Series presented themselves in absolute top form, beating records on end from up to 27m as the oldest extreme sport hit new grounds in one of the world’s oldest cities.

– In another commanding performance, 27-year-old Iffland bettered her own point record for an optional dive by a significant 13 points and also received three 10s for a single dive – a novelty in the women’s event.



– It was not only the Australian who broke records in the competition from the city’s most significant landmark as second-placed Adriana Jimenez improved the high score for a required dive on day one. With the slightest of margins ahead of fourth place, Belarussia’s Yana Nestsiarava secured her third season podium.

– Iffland, 27, said: “This year I just think I’ve found my rhythm. I feel like I’m in a good place mentally. I know I have done the training in a long off season putting in the work. Now it’s paying off. I’m just trying to be in a good place up there, in a good headspace and rely on my training. It’s definitely working. I’m absolutely shuffling my dives. I don’t think I’ve scored this high ever, this is a new personal best for me. I guess it can be a goal to win all the events. I’m seeing this a little bit more achievable after this event. I just want to stay really consistent and feeling comfortable with myself.”



– In the men’s event, a sensational final dive gave record winner Hunt a runaway victory at the fifth stop of the season. At his brilliant best, the 35-year-old finished off with a perfect 10 dive, after he’d ripped his first dive directly off the cliff into the Mediterranean Sea to earn two 10s from the judges, to surpass Jonathan Paredes’ (MEX) combined record of six times the highest note from the jury at a single stop.

– Forty points behind the Briton, American David Colturi finished in second after a slow start in this pure venue while invitee Catalin Preda from Romania took his second third place in his fourth showing.



– Hunt said: “I’m very happy. Yesterday we had one less dive than usual. I made the decision not to practice my dives in training, to try and stay as fresh as possible. I think it was challenging because of the weather and the waves. We couldn’t even go over to the islet on the boat yesterday. We had to zipline across, everything was up in the air. I just have to try and stay strong and focused. My goal as always is to do four strong dives.”

– In the overall standings, Hunt and Iffland top the boards with the same lead ahead of their challengers. The Brit is followed by Paredes and Jones in the men’s while the sport’s dominant female force is trailed by Nestsiarava and Jessica Macaulay from Great Britain going into the last two stops of the year.



– From the urban wilderness of Beirut, the cliff diving elite travels to the FINA High Diving World Championships in South Korea before they continue their battle for the King Kahekili trophy in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina on August 24.



Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series result from Lebanon:

MEN
1. Gary Hunt GBR 369.50 points
2. David Colturi USA 329.40
3. Catalin Preda (W) ROM 322.75

WOMEN
1. Rhiannan Iffland AUS 306.15 points
2. Adriana Jimenez MEX 251.85
3. Yana Nestsiarava BLR 242.25



Overall (after 5 of 7 stops with the revised format due to cold water, Ireland did not count towards the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series standings)

MEN
1. Gary Hunt GBR 800 points
2. Jonathan Paredes MEX 460
3. Andy Jones USA 380

WOMEN
1. Rhiannan Iffland AUS 800 points
2. Yana Nestsiarava BLR 460
3. Jessica Macaulay GBR 430

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