Kazan 2014: Athletes enjoy the venue
In Barcelona, the beautiful scenario in the Montjuic Municipal Pool had been the stage of the lucky draw for the first ever High Diving competition under FINA auspices, at the 2013 FINA World Championships. In Kazan, Russia, the 34 divers participating at the inaugural FINA High Diving World Cup on August 8-10, 2014 got a hold of the Russian tradition by opening the small “matryoshka” dolls with a number inside, defining their appearance order in the competition. After the technical meeting following the second day of training, athletes strongly applauded the FINA Executive Director Cornel Marculescu when he confessed that our International Federation will naturally consider the inclusion of the discipline in the Olympic programme.
Under very hot conditions, but blessed by some wind, 25 men and 9 women tested the conditions in the Kazanka River, where a double structure was built: one comprising the platforms for the competition, and, facing it, a TV tower. The three-day competition will be broadcasted live in Russia and the signal will reach over 70 territories worldwide. On the background of the diving structure, the beautiful and emblematic Kremlin of Kazan, the most recognisable monument of the Tatar capital, included in the UNESCO World Heritage list.
Everything is ready in Kazan for the start of the competition - Credit photo: Giorgio Scala
The initial day of competition, on August 8, will comprise the first men’s session, with three preliminary rounds of dives – from the 25 athletes starting this World Cup, the best 18 will qualify for the second session, on August 10. Women action is on Saturday, with three rounds of dives.
Among the happy athletes, was Anna Bader, from Germany, bronze medallist at the 2013 FINA World Championships.
“I’m very excited, as it is in fact my first visit to Russia. I wanted to visit this country for a long time, and this is an excellent opportunity. The people are very open and nice”, confessed the German star.
On her first feelings in Kazan, she finds the platform “very solid” and hopes the “good weather will continue in the days to come”.
First edition of the FINA High Diving World Cup is attended by 34 athletes from 16 countries - Credit photo: Giorgio Scala
Related to her performances, Bader naturally expects to upgrade her bronze medal, and has made an additional effort to achieve this goal: “From my three dives, two are new, with an increased degree of difficulty (DD). From the additional exposure generated after the FINA World Championships in Barcelona, the divers are improving their DD: there are more things possible, but I hope that the sport remains elegant and nice”, she says.
On the Olympic possibility for High Diving, Anna Bader, looks at the blue sky and hopes: “It’s the number 1 dream for any athlete. My Mum was an Olympian in gymnastics in 1968 and 1972, so this was always present at home”.
Before this afternoon training session, the FINA President Dr. Julio C. Maglione paid a visit to the venue accompanied by the President of the Republic of Tatarstan Mr. Rustam Minnikhanov. Dr. Maglione had the occasion to express FINA’s satisfaction and gratitude for the involvement and support of the Tatar authorities for the successful set-up of this first edition of the FINA High Diving World Cup.