Alexey Molchanov (Russia) took the title of Men’s Constant Weight (CWT) World Champion on the penultimate day of the 2019 AIDA Depth World Championships.  The atmosphere was palpable on the silent dive platform as the openers finished their dives, including Thomas Plum (Germany), opened with a new Personal Best of 43m on line 2.  Alexey was joined by his wife and teacher, Elena Molchanov, both wearing their signature gold wetsuits as they sat together facing toward Villefranche-Sur-Mer preparing for the descent.

The conditions in the morning were stunning compared to some tougher days at the beginning of the week, the bright clear start to the morning revealed Corsica on the horizon across the flat calm Mediterranean Sea.  The safety divers were prepped and ready to go.  Alexey looked strong on the dive, making it appear effortless as he glided through the water to the deep blue depths heading to a place where only he has been before in this discipline in his monofin.   He surfaced with a stronghold on the line, fine surface protocol, and his tag.  As the judges presented the white card the crowd cheers broke the silence for a moment welcome the World Champion 2019 and celebrate the gold medal for Russia.

The quiet returned as David Mullins (New Zealand) prepared for his dive, with an announced performance of 121m. He, unfortunately, turned before halfway getting him a Red card disqualification on the surface.  We caught up with David and he commented

“it was just in line with my recent run of bad dives.  They follow a pattern, bad, bad, bad, and then wow one dive is incredible, I just hadn’t had enough time to get the really good one.”

Another deep dive was announced by Andrey Matveenko (Russia) at 119m that he completed with a white card.

Arnaud Jerald (France) dived 115m with a white card, followed by Abdellatiff Laouach (France) diving in bi-fins to 110m and the audience was applauding loudly to celebrate French White cards.  Upon exiting the water Abdelatiff spoke to media, was so friendly and then burst into tears of joy prompting him to don his hood and jump into the sea wash away his tears of joy and achievement

William Trubridge (New Zealand) was still billed on the start list but in a statement Thursday night, he bravely called his dive today after a run of blackouts recently, instead choosing to spend the day with his wife and new baby daughter.

William Trubridge announces his withdrawl from the AIDA World Championships
William Trubridge announces his withdrawl from the AIDA World Championships

Stig Pryds (Denmark) went for a National Record attempt but blacked out on the surface and got a red card disqualification after reaching 106m.

Stephane Tourreau (France) got a white card, to the delight of the hosts, with a 103m performance followed by an early turn from Andrey Khvertkevych (Ukraine) with a planned depth of 102m.

A number of red cards today including Abdulrahman Alrashidi, the first Kuwait national to compete in the ADIA World Championships with a dive to 60m.

This means the men’s leaderboard for Constant Weight is:

  1. Alexey Molchanov (Russia) 130m
  2. Andrey Matveenko (Russia) 119m
  3. Arnaud Jerald (France) 115m

The full results for Friday:

AIDA Depth World Championships 2019 - Day 6 CWT Results
AIDA Depth World Championships 2019 – Day 6 CWT Results

National Records set during the men’s final day:

  • Mateusz Malian (Poland) 101m
  • Jordan Layver Álvarez (Cuba) 75m
  • George Nader (Lebanon) 55m

During the afternoon athlete meeting, the judges announced that the results for the World Championship for the Women competition were to remain the same as the previous day’s result as per 5 pm.  The controversial decision, made on Thursday, to revoke Hanako Hirose’s 1st place white card after the host nation’s safety team threatened strike action due to some question over a blackout after the dive caused a storm amongst athletes, media and officials with cries of blackmail and erosion of authority for the judges.

After a night of deliberations, the judges apologized in a statement read by head judge Savas Savvsa stating that as there was no protest in the time allowed then the card stands.  This also meant the later issued Yellow card to Marianna Gillespie was also revoked and left the results as follows

  1. Hanako Hirose (Japan) 101m
  2. Marianna Gillespie (Russia) 90m
  3. Jessea Lu (China) 88m

This then moved Alice Modolo (France) to a 4th place ranking.

Pierre Frolla, Head of Safety for the competition stated:

“We are not here to change the rules we are here to maintain the image of the sport.”

Saturday is the final day of the competition, the rescheduled Women’s and Men’s Free Immersion (FIM) dives from Wednesday will be completed including Nataliia Zharkova’s (Ukraine) re-start from Day 1 on her Constant Weight No-Fins (CNF).  Depending on the dive it could see her take the gold medal for this discipline.

Photo by William Rhamey

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