In a very personal tribute Italy's only world-class cliff diver Alessandro De Rose commemorates the country's special day ahead of the Italian leg of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series this Sunday. Equipped with glow lights in the green, white and red Italian Tricolore, the 26-year-old set the tone for the weekend in Polignano a Mare as the cliff diving elite returns to the sport's European home for a 7th time.
"Tonight I'm a proud Italian," De Rose said after this enlightening dive. "Although it was quite a challenge to dive in the dark it feels great to represent the colours of my country and celebrate into this important weekend." The local hero aims to repeat his feat from 2017 when he took his maiden victory in front of his home crowd.
Britain's Gary Hunt is the defending champion after winning last year's competition from the 27m platform, a win which secured the 34-year-old his 7th title. Currently leading in the men's, the record winner will certainly have one eye on rising star Constantin Popovici (ROU), who broke the Brit's winning streak in impressive style in the previous stop in Ireland.
In the women's competition from 21m, Australia's unstoppable champion Rhiannan Iffland can make it a hat trick of wins in the season's third stop unless one of her competitors step up their game to claim the top spot.
Returning to Italy, the country with the most World Series stops in 11 years, means a return to the most unusual take-off point. In order to get to the platforms high above the Adriatic Sea, 24 of the world's best cliff divers enter a private house, walk through the living room and find their stages mounted on the rooftop terrace. 60,000 passionate fans on the water and rocks below are expected to stir up a feverish atmosphere when the athletes are welcomed in Polignano a Mare for the 7th time since 2009.
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