Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series 2011: Orlando Duque Wins At Easter Island
2000 fans showed up to the first event of the 2011 Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series. Despite Tsunami warnings, the Easter Island natives were sure that the unusual presence of the Manu Taras – the lucky birds – indicated a safe competition.
It was exactly seven months ago that the Colombian won the 2010 World Series’ final competition, having finished second overall, and announced his intention to reclaim his title in 2011.
Coming back to the 27m stage after an intense off-season preparation, the 36-year-old took the first step on the road.
“It’s the challenge with our sport that sometimes you just have to pull it out and put everything into one day. You can do six months preparing the same way but then something like a possible tsunami happens and you have to go back to what you used to do and be ready for that one day,” said Orlando Duque.
Duque's impressive dive in the final round of the Easter Island event was awarded a ‘10’ by the event judges.
"In the take-off, I felt really, really good and as I came out of the water, I saw the judges’ scores and, yeah, that was just how it felt. I am happy!”
With a margin of 43.1 points, he finished ahead of Russia’s Artem Silchenko and Britain’s 2010 World Series Champion, Gary Hunt, whose loss of momentum may require a trip back to the pool for some fine tuning. Ever since the first training on Thursday, the chosen dozen of the world’s best cliff divers were carefully watched by the Manu Tara, one of the most important animals on the island and a central character in the Tangata Manu competition.
This elegant bird, whose name means ‘lucky’, is rarely seen in this part of the small island and the surprised locals predicted that everything would run smoothly. Blessed with traditional rites, the people of Rapa Nui arrived on horses, bikes and boats to watch the first ever cliff diving competition on Easter Island soil.
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