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MENAFN - Muscat Daily - 29/09/2012

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(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) The sweltering Thursday afternoon did not deter adventure sports fans in Oman from camping at the rocky Wadi Shab to witness some of the most amazing acrobatic dives ever.The first ever cliff diving competition on Arabian soil, the 2012 Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series held its thrilling grand finale in Wadi Shab's spectacular canyon. Thousands shied away from a lazy weekend to cheer 14 divers vying for the coveted cliff diving trophy.The top contenders battled it out till the very last dive as American Steven LoBue and defending World Series champion Gary Hunt from England had to win the seventh and final stop at Wadi Shab to beat the series leader and nine-time world champion Orlando Duque of Colombia.Ultimately, the Englishman's last dive - a series of difficult twists and flips requiring a higher degree of precision - paid off. Hunt won his third World Series Championship title, beating Duque by less than two points, while LoBue came third.After his win, Hunt said, ''This year has been the hardest without a doubt. It felt like everyone was on top of their game and you had to be diving really well to win. Wow! It was just the best competition I've ever done.''According to the organisers, an estimated 5,000 spectators were present at the competition. H H Sayyid Tarik bin Shabib al Said, also attended the event. A thousand water bottles and energy drinks were distributed to keep the crowds adequately hydrated.A party atmosphere prevailed as DJs and MCs entertained the crowd between dives. Many spectators took to the emerald waters of Wadi Shab to cool off.Bernard Krainbucher, Red Bull International project manager, explained that the preparations had been going on for a long time. ''The first location check was done in July 2011 so it's been more than a year of preparation."Ten people were working on the site from September 18, but this number increased to 130 between September 24 until Thursday's final.''According to Krainbucher, Wadi Shab was a very challenging location for the divers due to the narrow diving spot. ''It was also probably the toughest location so far, logistics-wise."But the people here have been very helpful and our base-camp was moved into a local villa for awhile. Residents of the Tiwi village were very excited. Further, ROP, the Ministry of Tourism and other government departments have all shown their support,'' he added.


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