The Russian takes double in Thailand after triumphing in final competition The 29-year-old achieved today what he has been working hard for in the previous months – he takes the crown from three-time winner Gary Hunt, from England, and is awarded the title of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series 2013 Champion in a highly-anticipated final in Krabi Province, Thailand. To top it off, the season’s early back-to-back winner performed best in an epic eight-dive final and wins the last stop in impressive style ahead of America’s Steven LoBue and Orlando Duque, from Colombia. After six competitions in Europe and North America, 14 of the world’s best cliff diving athletes came to Asia to showcase their pure sport during eight dives in four unique locations into translucent turquoise waters on the Phi Phi Islands and on Hong Island. 1,400 spectators on boats and in the water were left in awe when the divers hit the water at 85kph after three seconds of aesthetic freefall. The 29-year-old’s first World Series title was secured in sensational style on Saturday with the last 27-metre cliff dive of the 2013 season – a back armstand with two and a half twists, two and a half somersaults, and a blind entry. Standing on the edge of the platform knowing that he was one three-second dive away from victory, Silchenko was pure focus as he took off, smashing through the water and then emerging, fists raised, to 9s and 10s from the judges. Today’s highest score for a single dive, competition victory and overall win after scratching the worst individual competition result (1030pts)! Placing fourth in today’s competition, Gary Hunt (980pts) had to finally hand over the crown after winning three consecutive years. Colombia’s Orlando Duque, the 10-time world champion and World Series winner in 2009, placed third overall (860pts). Thailand’s idyll of islands was the setting for the last of seven competitions and was the perfect backdrop for a grand finale. The athletes were challenged to perform their difficult manoeuvres directly off the cliffs as well as from platforms almost three times the Olympic height into the Andaman Sea. Although Artem Silchenko was soon out of reach (1010.00pts), Steven LoBue, from America, steadily closed the gap from the bottom of the standings to second place (924.25pts), performing his quint half for 9s and 9.5s. In third, after twice as many dives as usual, 39-year-old Orlando Duque completed the podium only 8.95 points behind the American. The unwelcome fourth place today went to Gary Hunt, who missed the podium for the very first time this year. From daunting and chilly France and Denmark, to the wavy and pure Azores, a castle in Italy and a cantilever rooftop in the US, to a former slate quarry in Wales and Thailand’s limestone monoliths – the fifth season of what has become the sport’s most prestigious series of competitions drew more than 150,000 spectators all around the globe and demanded high-level dives and consistent performances from all competitors. Seven individual victories were up for grabs between May and October and were divided amongst an unprecedented four different winners, among them a new face – David Colturi. With each diver performing at the very top of their game, the 2013 World Series has seen seven podium finishers in 32 competition dives progress with very high scores. Only the top eight from the 2013 rankings qualify automatically for next year, with the two other athletes making up the permanent line-up for 2014 to be nominated by the World Series’ sports department by the end of the year, with an announcement also of the calendar for the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series 2014.]]>
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