The Morro Castle, Havana and Cuba debuted in style at the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series. Some might speak of the wind, strong and unbearable at times, others will speak of the sun, from beginning to end abusive, but the simple fact is that the capital of the Caribbean executed its great jump with golden ribbons at the first historic opportunity.
To keep pace, the winner of the great event also lifted the trophy for the first time in his career, breaking all the pre-competition predictions, thanks to an upward movement performance that brought the favorites out of competition one by one.
Blake Aldridge, also known as Blakey Boy , generally did not receive much media attention, at least until now, because the crown will attract the spotlight on this British 31, who starred in a legendary comeback after jumping from the platform with a score below the average (74.1 points) in the qualifying round .
He was ranked 11th among 14 divers, and nobody, absolutely nobody, not even the most faithful of his fans , foresaw the chance to see him with the trophy , ahead of such luminaries as his compatriot Gary Hunt , third, or laureates Orlando Duke and Artem Silchenko , who were off the podium .
“Yes, I ‘m surprised,” he snapped minutes after his leap to glory. And no wonder, after going through an ordeal last season, with three severe back injuries, the return to competition demanded from him more effort than usual, but the rewards could be seen after the last dive, which left him with score of 447.40.
” I did not have high expectations, but I came to fight, and showed that anything is possible ,” the Briton said, who took the honors in the final round after a complicated jump , the execution even asked for a handstand , very difficult to sustain due to the strong wind, uncomfortable all afternoon .
“The air blew strong, but was the same for everyone, and cannot used as an excuse. The wind will always stay to a greater or lesser extent, so we are who must adapt, focus and try to make the best jump, “Aldridge said, who climbed the podium again after his third position in the first stop prior to the World Series in La Rochelle, France.
“I think the most important thing now is to think about the next event. I already have a victory that gives a good amount of points in the standings. I just have to prepare better jumps and improve, maybe that way I will reach the podium again, “he said.
Only two units behind was the young Mexican Aldridge Jonathan Paredes, who dominated the competition most of the time and in the end had the victory in his hands, but he didn’t perfectly execute a dive with low complexity.
“My idea was to finish in the top five, because my degree of difficulty is not high enough to aspire to the top, but all went well and I was one step short of the title,” the most prominent rookie of the earlier edition of the World Series said who is aware that he needs to experience a qualitative rise in the immediate future.
“We have six stops ahead and already the fight has gone to the next level, because they all go making increasingly complex jumps. Gary Hunt already tried a new very difficult exercise, and Steven Lobue presented a program of extreme difficulty, “he said, very pleased with the location.
“This second place is beyond my expectations. I was nervous because I had not jumped since the final in Thailand for half a year and neither had done any training session for 27 meters, “Paredes said, who was very happy for the victory of Aldridge, a diver, according to his opinion, that has many tools to execute the jump he wants.
“The next goal is to improve jumps, implementation, coordination, concentration and try to rise a little bit the difficulty, because it would make me much more competitive,” he added, always optimistic.
The podium was completed by three-time champion, Britain’s Gary Hunt, who was not accurate in the greater complexity jumps, which he has dominated other times to make a difference with rivals.
“I enjoy and prefer the more complex jumps, so I upgraded them effectively,” Hunt enunciated, who also usually bets more in his last two spins, the more difficult.
“My first jumps are not the strongest, so I wasn’t thinking to be anywhere close to the leaders. My greatest strength comes next, with the last two performances. In this competition I even tried a new one, but it did not go as well as I would like, polish it takes time, “Hunt said, who also spent a lot of work to take the exact point the wind.”The wind comes and goes, you have to choose very carefully when to jump,” the British monarch from 2010 to 2012 concluded.
Thus, the Cliff Diving says goodbye to Havana, where it left faces of passion in multiple spaces, as in La Punta esplanade, across the bay, where thousands of fans gathered to watch on giant screens, the events of El Morro, a colonial scenario that has enchanted the best jumpers in the world.