THREE new faces, all of them under the age of 24, secured places in the cliff diving’s most prestigious series – the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series 2013 – in the qualifying rounds on the Hawkesbury River on Saturday.
Established cliff diver Michal Navratil and former Olympian Blake Aldridge also joined the trio with top performances which earned them a ticket to the World Tour. In front of more than 1,000 fans, the qualifier determined which five athletes (out of 13 candidates) would go forward to compete in the 2013 World Series.
With eight dives from 26m by each athlete, just 4.30 points was the difference between being a member of the 2013 cliff diving elite and narrowly missing out.
Rising star Jonathan Paredes, from Mexico, claimed his spot impressively in his second qualification attempt with the highest overall score of 863.75 points.
The UK’s Blake Aldridge, another athlete from 2012 who regained his place, finished in third ahead of Ukrainian Anatoliy Shabotenko.
The day’s biggest surprise, however, was newcomer Matt Cowen, from England.
Jumping from 10th to fifth in the last round, the 24-year-old capitalised on slip-ups from some of the better placed competitors, outperforming the likes of veteran Frenchman Cyrille Oumedjkane, who missed out on qualification by just 4.30 points.
With the 2013 line-up now complete, the qualifiers will join champion Gary Hunt, Orlando Duque, Steven Lobue, Artem Silchenko and David Colturi at the opening event World Series at the French port of La Rochelle on May 25.
Qualification competition results
1. Jonathan Paredes (MEX) 863.75pts (Q)
2. Michal Navratil (CZE) 862.7pts (Q)
3. Blake Aldridge (UK) 835.6pts (Q)
4. Anatoliy Shabotenko (UKR) 831.5pts (Q)
5. Matt Cowen (UK) 794.2pts (Q)
6. Cyrille Oumedjkane (FRA) 789.9pts
7. Jorge Ferzuli (MEX) 781.9pts
8. Kent De Mond (USA) 780.75pts
9. Hassan Mouti (FRA) 758.45pts
10. Kris Kolanus (POL) 742.3pts
11. Alain Kohl (LUX) 703.8pts
12. Andy Jones (USA) 679.1pts