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High Diving World Championship: “With the heat, we want to jump with them!”

Debilly Footbridge. It is here, straddling the 7th and 16th arrondissements, very close to the Eiffel Tower, that hearts beat very hard this Saturday afternoon. Despite the stifling heat (nearly 38 degrees) and in full sun, Parisians and tourists came to admire the performances of these exceptional champions.

Two accessories characterize them: their mobile phones in their hands, and the sunglasses that do not leave their sweaty faces. “I came for my daughter who has been swimming for 5 years. Gary Hunt, who will start, also started like that, explains, enthusiastic, Benjamin, 50 years old. We have a good time with the family. With the heat, we want to jump with them! »

On the Debilly footbridge, the numerous spectators attend this extraordinary spectacle. Franco Arland/Icon Sport Franco Arland/Icon Sport

The Briton, naturalized French two years ago, is the attraction of the day. “I go diving in the same club as Gary Hunt, we came to encourage him” slips us a supporter of the diver looking like a rocker. A special “Gary Hunt” fan zone was even organized and a banner unfurled for him.

As soon as the divers are ready to dive, a bell rings. At that moment, the silence is total. The spectators hold their breath, the time for a few seconds of preparation of the divers at the end of the platform, 27 m high. Then it’s the leap into the void. Landings in the water are controlled and secured by divers present in the Seine. Applause and cries of joy accompany each new jump.

Pablo, 21, a student, was not aware of this event: “I was walking by chance, I heard a noise, I was attracted and I thought it would be nice to attend. . All this makes me say that France is capable of hosting sporting events, we are ready for 2024! “.

According to the Paris police headquarters, more than 20,000 people attended this unprecedented spectacle in the capital.

On the competition side, Romania particularly distinguished itself by placing two divers on the podium. It is Catalin Preda, winner of the 2021 edition in Saint-Raphaël, who wins this Parisian competition. He broke the competition’s record score created in 2009 with a score of 79.80 points. Announced favorite, Gary Hunt, the Franco-British, won 2nd place: “I’m happy, relieved, it was a lot of pressure, I’ve never felt so much support in this kind of competition. I stay at the top of the general classification, that’s the main thing. A big congratulations to Catalin, he assured. I came here to win, but I will continue to work. »

Next meeting for Gary Hunt and these extreme divers on July 19 in Copenhagen, for the 3rd stage of the year 2022 of Red Bull Cliff Diving.

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