Mat_Cowen_action_Azores_3webCuba is eagerly preparing to host a stage of the 2014 World High Diving Series, the newest and most exciting competition in the world of aquatic sports. “It’s going to be a very important show,” said Ruiz Pedreguera, a former diver in the 70s and 80s who hopes to see Cuban athletes competing in the event, tentatively scheduled to take place April 12 at Castillo del Morro, the historic fort overlooking Havana Bay.
havana-live-cliff-diver-orlando-duque-dives-from-25m-at-the-statue-of-libertyOrganizers are considering building a seven-meter-high steel-and-aluminum platform, extending eight meters out over the sea, at the fort, which already has a height of 20 meters. The waters in this part of the bay have a depth of more than five meters.
The event is expected to gather a dozen or more of the world’s top high divers, whose death-defying leaps, turns and aerial somersaults will be visible to spectators along the port city’s seafront promenade. In the men’s division, divers are expected to make five dives from a height of 27 meters; in the women’s division, divers make three dives from an elevation of 20 meters. Both are expected to remain suspended in air for three seconds and to dive, feet first, at nearly 100 kilometers per hour.Competitive high diving is spectacular to watch and considered extremely risky. Since the series debuted in 2009, some 20 countries have hosted the event at least once. To help oversee the preparations for the event, and offer workshops, the current high diving world champion and director of the sport, Colombian-born Orlando Duque, will be traveling to Cuba this month. Cuban diver Yurisbel Caignet, 26 and a former champion, has expressed an interest in competing in the event. The sport’s record holders include Switzerland’s Oliver Favre, with a 54-meter dive, and the U.S.’ Lucy Wardle, with a 37-meter dive. Next year’s edition of the diving series will see Havana host the second stage of the 10-stage competition held in exotic locations around the world, such as Mexico, Brazil, Australia and Hawaii.