Who Will Take Home the Women's Title in 2019?

Lysanne Richard
Here are the top three contenders for the King Kahekili trophy this season

Over the past five seasons since its inception, the women's world championship has rapidly grown into an exciting and integral part of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series. Although the previous three seasons have been dominated by Australian sensation Rhiannan Iffland, there has been an explosion in quality and competitiveness in recent years and 2019 should see another exciting battle for the King Kahekili trophy.

With the new season fast approaching, let's take a closer look at three of the top contenders for the women's title.

Rhiannan Iffland (AUS)

With three seasons in the books, Rhiannan Iffland has made it a hat-trick of titles and become the most decorated female in the sport's history.

Since her rise as a stunning rookie-winner in her first cliff diving competition in 2016, the 27-year-old Australian has collected 11 wins in 17 events and has only twice finished outside the top three. To complete her winning streak the queen of cliff diving also won the FINA high diving world cup last November. 

If you've broken all records and pushed the limits of your sport, what would you define as your season's goal for 2019? "Build bigger dives, be more consistent, but most of all enjoy the travel and adventure that comes with the competition."

Achievements:

• Most successful female cliff diver
• 2018, 2017 & 2016 Winner Red Bull Cliff Diving Women's World Series
• 2018 Winner FINA High Diving World Cup
• 2017 Winner FINA High Diving World Championships
• 2015 started her cliff diving career

Adriana Jimenez (MEX)

In 2018, the Mexican enjoyed her best season to date, and with two wins and a second place to her name that year she was the epitome of consistency. Jimenez carried a 20-point lead into the final showdown in Italy, but - just like the year before - ultimately her rival Rhiannan Iffland surged to a third title.

Her flawless style has turned 'Ady' into a constant force in the women's cliff diving world, where she holds the sole record for participating in all 24 competitions since the introduction of the female category in 2014; one third of which the Mexican powerhouse finished on the podium.

"Winning the title would mean one dream realized," says the former cheerleader, "and to put the colours of my country on top of the high diving world is one of the goals I'd love to achieve." Someone who once secured a place in the Olympic Games for Mexico, is confident enough to step it up once again.

Achievements:

• Only athlete who competed in all World Series events since 2014
• 2017 1st victory Red Bull Cliff Diving Women's World Series in Azores (POR)
• 2017 2nd FINA High Diving World Championships
• 2015 2nd Red Bull Cliff Diving Women's World Series in São Miguel, Azores (POR)
• 2014 2nd Red Bull Cliff Diving Women's World Series in Yucatán (MEX, wildcard)
• 2004 19th 10m Platform World Cup and Pre-Olympics in Athens (GRE), securing a place for Mexico in the Olympic Games

Lysanne Richard (CAN)

The 37-year-old Canadian endured a nightmare 12 months in 2017 after a neck injury ruled her out for the whole season, but bounced back in style last season. She opened with a fifth-place finish in Texas, improved in Azores to take her first podium of the season, before completing a sensational return to form with victory in Switzerland. By the time of the season final, Lysanne Richard found herself right in the middle of the closest title fight ever.

"Did I expect to be in contention for the title? – Yes, because we always aim high," says the 162cm small ever-smiling powerhouse, "but I'm just happy and grateful that I could do the whole season and my body still felt good; that was the main objective of the season."

Coming almost out of nowhere, the graduate from National Circus School of Montreal and former character at Cirque du Soleil took the challenges of propelling herself from the 21m-platform in acrobatic grace with a smile ever since her first start in 2014. With nine podium finishes in 16 starts – three went straight to the top – Richard is definitely a challenger for the 2019 Women's World Series title.

Achievements:

• 2018 Winner Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series in Sisikon (SUI)
• 2016 2nd overall Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series
• 2016 Winner High Diving World Cup
• 2015 2nd Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series in Texas (USA, wildcard)
• 2004 Graduate from National Circus School of Montreal
• Character and acrobat with Cirque du Soleil, since 2005 till today
• Circus and high diving shows in Canada, United States, Bermuda, Mexico, Dominican Republic, France, Spain, Italy, Russia, Scotland, Oman and Japan

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