Although the overall titles were sealed during the penultimate stop in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the pressure is high in the men's and women's as only the best performers will make the cut for 2020 during the year's final aesthetic free falls from up to 27m. Record-setting champions Gary Hunt from Great Britain and Australia's Rhiannan Iffland have their ambitious goals defined for the final showdown in front of the iconic Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, when for the first time the women will display their graceful art in front of thousands of enthusiastic fans along the Nervión river.
After reeling off another record-breaking performance from the old bridge in Mostar, 4-time women's titleholder Iffland aims for the perfect season of straight wins, while the brilliant Brit is ready for retaliation from the La Salve Bridge, a place where he has failed to win in three previous visits.
"This Series has always been with the best divers around the world. You have to be consistent the whole time," the 35-year-old British grandmaster of cliff diving explains, "Constantin Popovici and I were one one at the point when he hurt himself. Now he's two one up, so I've got work to do and I'm going to try and even the score back in Bilbao."
Said Constantin Popovici came back victoriously from injury with the second perfect dive in history in the previous stop when the second season success put the Romanian back into the fight for a permanent ticket for 2020.
Hunt will have added support as wildcards Owen Weymouth and Aidan Heslop – the youngest ever World Series competitor – will make for a 5-diver strong Team GB including former Olympian Blake Aldridge as well as Jessica Macaulay in the women's.
The 26-year-old Brit will try to defend her runner up position going into the season final against Belarussia's Yana Nestsiarava and Lysanne Richard from Canada looming in third and fourth only 10 points apart from each other.
In the men's Jonathan Paredes from Mexico sits in a rather solid 2nd place, while America's Andy Jones will eventually repeat his PB 3rd overall from 2016, when he closed the season with his debut win into the flashlights of Dubai.
Through the world ranking, which considers the FINA World Cup and World Championships besides the World Series competitions, the top eight performers will secure a spot for next season. As expected, a lot of talent is pushing into the World Series and four wildcards – three women and one man – bear the chance of earning a permanent ticket from 21m and 27m.
After the huge success of the final showdown in 2015, Bilbao's La Salve Bridge will once again play host as the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series marches towards an exciting and emotional climax, when Colombia's cliff diving legend Orlando Duque will complete his highly successful competition career during the final stop of the year.
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