Gary Hunt and Rhiannan Iffland coped best with the difficult conditions in Mostar on Friday afternoon, maintaining their composure amid persistent rainfall to move into the lead ahead of Saturday’s final round.With one round directly off the Old Bridge already in the books from Thursday, the 25 men and women returned for another two dives from the more tried and tested man-made platforms.
Hunt arrived in Mostar looking for his first Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series win this year and aiming to repel the pressure exerted on him by Romanians Catalin Preda and Constantin Popovici. He was in fine form despite the rain battering down on the Neretva River. The Frenchman picked up 9s from the judges with a superb second round dive before ripping another in the third round to take a 15-point lead into the final, Red Bull reports.
“The conditions are very interesting here,” said Hunt. “Luckily, we don’t have much wind, and it’s not too cold. The rain is annoying, that’s for sure, especially for some of the other dives like handstands and inwards. There’s a big puddle of water up there that you can’t clean up, but we’re all in the same boat; that’s the competition. Let’s do it.”It was a rare off day for Popovici and Preda, who both struggled with their third dives and sat in fifth and eighth place, respectively. Ukraine’s Oleksiy Prygorov put in an eye-catching display to move from 10th into the second spot in the standings, followed in third by fellow wildcard Nikita Fedotov of Russia.
Meanwhile, Iffland was irrepressible once again in the women’s competition. Come rain or shine; the four-time champion is one of the most consistent and complete cliff divers in the sport’s history and, despite some troubles at Stari Most earlier in her career, she remains well on course to make it a phenomenal 10 wins in a row this weekend.“I am so happy,” said Iffland. “We can call it a friendship now with the river here. After the second dive, I felt really strong and had this extra confidence. I was up there; it was raining, the weather wasn’t really cooperating with us. I just tried to take in that energy, and it certainly worked. I gave it my all on the take-off, and it really paid off.”