The Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series may be taking an enforced break from one of its favourite locations this summer, but Mostar's local bridge-diving legend, Lorens Listo, has been busy passing on his wisdom to the next generation of divers down at the Neretva River.
Listo, a 13-time winner of the traditional diving competition held annually at the beautiful Stari Most, retired from the local competition last year and is now focusing his energy on shaping the future of young divers in the city.
These fresh new faces have a bright future ahead of them, and one girl harbours dreams of becoming the first diver from Mostar to step on the 21m platform at the World Series competition on the Old Bridge.
According to Listo, Nura Krpo is an outstanding talent. This 14-year-old, who was born in Mostar but now lives in Norway with her parents, has been diving for the past three years and is a member of the Nordic country's junior diving team. She comes to her hometown every summer and trains on the Neretva with friends, from whom she learned the traditional 'swallow' and 'bar' (feet-first dive). But Krpo also performs acrobatic dives, like the ones we have had the opportunity to watch at the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series competitions in Mostar for the last five years.
Her dream is to perform in front of her fellow citizens at this elite competition one day, side by side with the world's best female divers from the 21m platform.
"I want to be the first diver from Mostar to compete at the Red Bull Cliff Diving competition," says Krpo, adding that she wants to do it for herself, her parents and her hometown.
Last Saturday, young divers took part in the junior competition at Azer Dželilović Diving Platform in Donja Mahala. Head-first and feet-first dives from a height of 10 meters were judged by a jury composed of former champions, including Listo, who was spurred into coaching through fear that divers may be drying up at the Neretva River.
"Our 454-year-long tradition is endangered due to the fact that kids do not swim in the Neretva River," explains Listo. "And when there are no swimmers, there are no divers either. That's why my friends from the diving club 'Mostari' and I started a diving school. We will fight with all our might to continue this tradition, and I hope that we will succeed."
Diving is a part of Mostar's history, and with the help of Listo, one day we might just see one of the locals battling it out with the world's best cliff divers on Stari Most.