As the world's best divers prepare to do battle in Dubai, Vision gives a taste of what to expect from the competition
The world’s most talented divers have returned to Dubai for this weekend’s FINA/NVC Diving World Series (20-22 March), where a host of Olympic and World champions are set to flaunt their skills at the spectacular Hamdan Sports Complex.
Dubai represents the second leg of the 2014 edition of the series, which is a prestigious competition that offers an annual meeting opportunity for the world’s very best, and aims to boost the profile of diving around the world.
Featuring the top-eight divers from individual events in last year’s World Championships, and the top six teams in the synchronised events, the series features the sport’s most riveting duels in both 10m platform and 3m springboard disciplines.
The series kicked off in Beijing last week, where China’s Cao Yuan stunned his compatriot and reigning world champion Qiu Bo to take gold in the 10m platform, while Olympic bronze medallist Tom Daley claimed third place. A rematch between the trio was highly-anticipated this weekend at the HSC but Cao Yuan made a last-minute withdrawal from the individual 10m platform.
Chinese four-time Olympic gold medallist Wu Minxia has been focusing solely on 3m synchro since her double gold medal triumph in London 2012. The elegant 28-year-old says she’s been enjoying her new partnership with Shi Tingmao and is looking to experience further success with her this weekend.
The divers use the series as a tool to get ready for the bigger events of the season, and work on the new dives they’ve added to their routines. “You’re constantly competing against the top divers in the world in lots of different locations so it prepares you really well for the main events this year. We’ve got the World Cup in Shanghai, the Commonwealth Games and also the European Championships,” explains British superstar, Daley, who will be competing in only his second meet since he teamed up with his new coach, the Zimbabwe-born Jane Figueiredo.
This is the third time Dubai has hosted one of the legs of the Diving World Series and executives of FINA (the world’s governing body of aquatic sports) are hoping to strengthen their relationship with the emirate in the future.
“The participation this year features more divers than ever which shows the importance of this event. We want to show to the world how beautiful diving is, what great talents we have, and I think it’s a fantastic show for television also,” says Cornel Marculescu, FINA Executive Director.
The six-stop series will move on to London next, followed by Moscow, Windsor and finally Monterrey in Mexico, where the overall winners will be crowned champions.