Riccione 2012, Diving: "Hat-trick" but not just for the Magic Six!


credit: Giorgio Scala/DeepbluemediaAmongst all the diving stars at the 14th FINA World Masters Championships in Riccione six divers managed to secure a wonderful three victories each in their respective events but in addition to their hat-trick is another namely: the Iranian, Hassan Lotfi, the Indian Rajendra Kanphade and the Italian Ugo Sansonetti. The Italian was the oldest competitor in the diving events and was victorious in the 1m Springboard event securing a total of 118.50 points while competing in the 90-94 years age-group. The 93 year-old former farmer who had spent many years in Costa Rica is now back in his homeland and is coached by Italian diving legend Klaus Dibiasi. Back in February he had broken his ankle but fortunately he got the green light from his doctor to compete in the Championships on the Adriatic coast of Italy. He had previously also held 10 World Masters records in athletics in the 200m, 400m and 800m too. His 10 children, 25 grandchildren and five great grandchildren were all truly proud of him.

Also proud was the Tehran born Iranian Hassan Lotfi who has lived in Great Britain since 1978 where he has been teaching African percussion music. But he has never broken his ties with his homeland and represented his club and country here competing in the 50-54 years age-group and took vcictories in the 3m springboard (246.20) and platform (207.35). These are indeed the first titles any Iranian has won at the FINA World Masters Championships. Two years ago in Gothenburg the Indian, Rajendra Kanpharde, from Mumbai popped up at the FINA World Masters Championships for the first time with a large team of supporters and fellow countrymen. He did not manage to win a medalal then just as he did not here in Riccione, although he will also compete in the 50m backstroke and open water swimming.

Rajendra Kanphade (IND) - credit: Giorgio Scala/Deepbluemedia

Normally, Alain Lobet dives from much higher heights than those available here at the Championships in Riccione. The Strasbourg born Frenchman has been living in Italy for the last eight years and has been competing in the High Diving World Series. High diving is a discipline which FINA will also introduce into the World Championships in Barcelona next year and involves diving from heights of up to 28 metres. Here in Riccione he was victorious in the 40+ age-group with a total of 282.55 points. One of the most successful divers of all time was to be seen on the poolside at the World Masters Championships, Dmitri Sautin, but this time not as a competitor but as a coach. The 38 year-old Russian had brought with him eight divers to compete in Riccione and of these eight he coached Pavel Polyakov (age-group 30-34) and Vadim Makarov (age-group 30-34) to titles.

Polyakov was one of six divers to win all three events in their age-groups, a feat matched by the Germans Heinz Weisbarth (age-group 75-79), Alexej Schulz (age-group 40-44) and the American, Nate Holt (age-group 65-69). Amongst the women it was the American, Mary Bennett (age-group 60-64) and the Russian, Raisa Gorokhova (age-group 80-84) who secured all three gold medals. For the latter it was another three medals to the haul of more than 100 that she has won in diving.

Ugo Sansonetti (ITA) - credit: Giorgio Scala/Deepbluemedia