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Gary makes big splash at home

Artem Silchenko, Orlando Duque, Gary Hunt - WinnersGARY HUNT won his home event of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series 2013 in the ‘Blue Lagoon;’ Abereiddy last weekend.
By a margin of just 1.65 points, the 29-year-old overall leader of the current season was declared the winner of the sixth round of the World Series in a competition that was not decided until the very last dive.
After a third place at the ‘Blue Lagoon’ in 2012, Gary wanted a home win more than anything else and he accomplished the feat on Saturday afternoon in front of an enthusiastic Welsh crowd.
Second place went to Russia’s Artem Silchenko and Orlando Duque, from Colombia, made it to the podium. More than 5,500 spectators over the weekend watched as three UK divers made the final round of the top-eight athletes for the first time this season and bright sunshine made up for a week of wet and physically-demanding weather conditions.
“Today’s my day,” Gary Hunt said in a first statement. With the added motivation of competing at home and the support of the crowd in the Colosseum-like former quarry, Team GB propelled its performance to never seen heights.
Former Olympian Blake Aldridge finished 7th after missing the final in the last two stops. Mat Cowen, the man who had his first appearance on the World Series at this location a year ago, reached a personal best claiming fifth place. When the last athlete, Artem Silchenko, surfaced from his final 27m-dive and the scores were announced, the crowds along the cliffs and on kayaks went wild, the ‘brilliant Brit’ had just won at home. He (510.90pts) left his first follower in the overall standings, Artem Silchenko, behind by less than two points and ten-time world champion Orlando Duque (478.90) made it into the top three for fourth time this season.
With the second win to his name, Gary Hunt now has a decent lead of 120 points over Artem Silchenko (860pts) in the World Series standings after six of eight global tour stops. On third position, 39-year-old Duque lies another 40 points behind the Russian. Tension among the cliff diving combatants rises as the 2013 season gets closer to the final showdown and two new locations – Brazil and Thailand. Only those who compete on a consistently high level can be part of a 2014 Series.
For 14 of the world’s best cliff divers the return to the circular ‘Blue Lagoon’, was a return to pastoral farmland and flocks of white and black sheep after the all-urban stop in Boston. Their acrobatic 3-second flights into the fresh Celtic Sea shattered the serenity of this usually quiet corner of the country.
Gary praised the crowd and venue: “It’s amazing. I’d said so many times in interviews before this event that I wanted to win that even if I had come second I would not have been happy! I had to win here! It was really close but I managed to do it. The crowd today were amazing. This was my favourite stop last year so when I knew we were coming back I was so up for it.”
The Welsh stop of the World Series was the last one on European soil for the season. The competition resumes in just two weeks’ time in the Brazilian city of Niterói.