By Rod Gilmour
KAZAN, Russia (Reuters) - High diving needs more countries involved before it can hope to be included in the Olympic Games, International Swimming Federation (FINA) president Julio Maglione said on Wednesday.
“It is an exciting and beautiful competition,” Maglione told Reuters after the world championship events concluded with Briton Gary Hunt winning 27-metre gold to cement his status as the sport’s leading competitor.
“But to be an Olympic sport you need a minimum 100 federations to practice the sport. Right now, we don’t have that amount of people but (what) we want in the future is to be Olympic. We must wait but we will maintain the sport in the world championships.”
Divers from nine nations competed in the final top12 of the men’s event but the women’s competition had four Americans in the nine-strong final and one, Rachelle Simpson, took the title.
The Olympics feature 10-metre platform events and three-meter springboard competitions.
Hunt, 31, was a class apart in the men’s final in Kazan, recording 629.30 points to finish 32.85 ahead of Bernal Parades of Mexico in silver. Artem Silchenko of Russia took bronze.
Hunt had been leading the inaugural competition at the 2013 world championships until over-rotating on his final dive, a mistake which allowed Colombian Orlando Duque to snatch gold by less than a point.
“I had to live with Barcelona for two years,” said Hunt, who won five successive World Series titles in the build-up to Kazan. “I was nervous to do the same thing here. To have a gold medal round my neck is a big relief.
“Over the winter I put my blinkers on and got down to hard training. It’s job done.”
(Editing by Clare Fallon)