Saturday 24th May 2003 – 10:45pm
After a rather calm morning, registration started and a trickle of competitors turned into a flood of registrants. The team of "monkeys" Howard Jones had organised pulled together for the first major test of the team that was going to organise the Sony FreeDiver Open Classic 2003.
Top freediver after top freediver turned up to register and by my own count well over a hundred competitors had signed up by the time registration closed at 4pm. Several inbound flights into Cyprus were delayed so an additional registration is scheduled for tomorrow.
I got the chance to chat to many of our top favourites to win and almost all are finding issues with the somewhat harsher conditions in Cyprus than expected. We will have to wait and see how all the competitors fare during the training days, but my opinion is that not as many World Records are in danger as we previously thought. However we will only be able to judge on real performances.
Next on the schedule was the competition brief by Howard Jones (organiser) and various AIDA judges. Howard opened the show with a rather stern warning to all competitors that the schedule had to be obeyed. Sebastien Nagel, president of AIDA, followed with a run down of the rules for the competition which sparked some confusion in the competitor ranks. Howard and Sebastien guided the conversation to a resolution of most issues, although several people remarked on the fact they felt uncomfortable with the fact they were still feeling unsure of the exact way the AIDA rules were going to be implemented.
The day was set to close with a BBQ and parade of country flags. The BBQ never appeared and once most people had managed to grab a bite to eat from the hotel restaurant, the opening ceremony started. The ceremony was a very simple event with organisers, monkeys and competitors lining up to shake hands with each other. After several beverages this degenerated into the usual "throw your nearest competitor or organsiser" into the pool.
Just before I sat down to write this our friends from SportalSub.net arrived, including the world champion Carlos Coste, after a rather eventful trip including an emergency landing in Athens! We’ll be sitting down with the team tomorrow (after their nerves have settled) to discuss the coverage further.
Overall i’ve come away from today with a feeling that the freediving community is still one big happy family, and events like this, even with it’s slightly rough edges, still help bring together a world of different personalities – all of whom are brought together with a love of freediving.
Anyway – the team here are off to the bar – so we’ll update you tomorrow.
Saturday 24th May 2003 – 11:00am
Well, i’ve arrived in Cyprus and have had a glorious 3 hours of sleep. Gareth (the photographer) and I have dragged ourselves out of bed to head down to the pool and check out who is here and what is happening.
Organisers, Media, and Competitors are all milling around between the pool (plenty of static and dynamic practice going on) and the barge. Registration opens in around an hour so i’ll report in later this evening.
Friday 23rd May 2003
It is finally here! After months of anticipation and discussion we finally are on the eve of the biggest FreeDiving event of the year.
I’m flying out with a DeeperBlue.net photographer tonight at 22.15 GMT, which is only a few hours away. We arrive in the (very) early hours of the morning and will have just enough time to grab a few hours sleep before everyone starts registration around the pool of the Golden Arches hotel.
Our team will be around the event during the whole duration of the competition and I will be updating this weblog on a regular basis. You can also see analysis and results appear every evening (subject to the results being released by the organisers), and we’ll be uploading as many photo’s as possible into our Gallery. Don’t forget you can also discuss everything going on in our special Forum!
We’ve been getting reports all week as the competitors start to arrive on site. Overall it’s shaping up to be a tremendous event and we’re pleased to be able to bring it to you.
For those of you who haven’t read Pete Scott and Eric Fattah’s excellent lead-up article series, I suggest you head over to our Cyprus section, settle in and read the 7-part series as it gives you tremendous insight into who are the main contenders are in the International competition.
Anyway, I wish the best of luck to all competitors and see you around the event!
Check out the Photos
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Why not visit Apnea Magazine for Italian, or SportalSub.net for Spanish translations of our coverage?
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