AIDA Depth World Championships 2019: Day 3 – Stormy Weather & Apologies

Omninous dark clouds during the opening minutes of the 3rd day of AIDA Depth World Championships 2019
Omninous dark clouds during the opening minutes of the 3rd day of AIDA Depth World Championships 2019

Day 3 of the AIDA Depth Freediving World Championships was canceled by organizers not long after starting due to torrential rain and rough conditions at sea.

At 7 am it was announced, after some speculation, that the competition would be canceled due to bad weather but the athletes got the go-ahead for Women and Men’s Free Immersion (FIM) discipline.

The conditions were rough on the dive boat and the platform was alive with divers trying to stand upright as they moved into positions.

Fatima Korok (Hungry) set the tone for the morning by completing a dive to 81m, setting a new National Record and opening a clean bill of white cards for next five divers.

  1. Fatima Korok (Hungary) 81m – National Record
  2. Marianna Gillespie (Russia) 81m
  3. Jessea Lu (China) 80m
  4. Mirelle Neff (France) 80m
  5. Sandra Delija (Croatia) 75m – National Record

Isabela Aran Sanchez (Spain) was in the water ready to start her dive when the organizers canceled the day due to conditions becoming too dangerous on the platform.  After the announcement, a rush ensued as the judges were falling into the media boat to leave the platform and get back to shore.  Cameras, judges and more rain filled the boat as it made its way back to shore.

The athletes gathered under the shelter of the tent in the village as they awaited news of when dives would be rescheduled.  The divers who were not able to complete yesterday have been rescheduled for Saturday 14th September.  Organizers had left this day for any makeup dives needed and it before the closing ceremony

The delay to the competition day also leaves the results from day one at a loose end as Nataliia Zharkova (Ukraine) was set to re-start her dived and only after this has been completed will there be a resolution on the podium places.  There has been much controversy surrounding the decision to restart her dive, she has been met with protests from athletes from other nations, and today the drama continued.

As athlete sheltered from the rain, the internet began to liven up as comments regarding the treatment of the Ukrainian athlete started pouring into social media.  Her treatment by Claude Chapuis was slammed by fellow teammates and other competitors.  A hashtag was set up requesting Chapuis to change profession following an argument with Nataliia where he suggested if she was not happy with the way the comp was run she could change profession.

Alexander Bubenchikov posted in the AIDA International Facebook Group a campaign calling Claude to step down:

“I believe we should not accept this disrespectful attitude and Nataliia should receive a public apology.  And I also believe that after half a year of preparation you should be able to organize the start times in time then you are the one who should change profession.”

Alexander Bubenchikov posted in the AIDA International Facebook Group
Alexander Bubenchikov posted in the AIDA International Facebook Group

The AIDA International Facebook and official Competition Facebook groups have seen a lot of complaints from athletes about the way the competition is being conducted.

The safety team has also come under fire from critics, an official source commented that the standard is less than gold, it isn’t even silver, it is zero.  Pierre Frolla, Head of Safety, gave us a full statement in response.

Claude Chapuis, co-organizer, said:

“We have been working in this bay for 30 years and we know how to keep it safe.  We are always making improvements to our methods and they work. The divers are trained to the highest standard for months and they are the best of the best.”

However, in the evening meeting with the coaches and athletes, Chapuis offered a public, considered and heartfelt apology in front of the crowds last night at a meeting. However, emotions are still running high amongst official staff. Marco Consentino, AIDA Master Instructor, Italy, has spoken exclusively to DeeperBlue.com

“Unfortunately for this competition the AIDA Safety board that I am Chair of was not allowed by the organizers to be involved in preparations or organization of the team. All safety preparations are managed. By the “standards” defined by the organizers.”

The competition continues today with the Men’s Free Immersion (FIM) competition.

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