Canada’s Molly Carlson denied Australia’s Rhiannon Iffland an early coronation in the 2023 Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series, defeating the six-time champion at the penultimate stop of the season in Mostar.
Carlson’s surprise win at the fifth stop of the World Series in Mostar, Bosnia & Herzegovina, ensured that the fight for this season’s King Kahekili Trophy – the award for the overall winner – will go down to the final stop.
Carlson, a four-time runner up already this season, arrived in Mostar knowing she needed to finish above the reigning champion Iffland, if she was to stay in contention for the title.
Once again, the pair were neck and neck throughout, trading proverbial blows from the 21m platform, before Carlson delivered a knockout final round dive which earned her two 10s from the judges and a second career victory with a new personal best competition score.
Victory for the 24-year-old ended Iffland’s 11-stop winning streak – a run which stretches back to Carlson’s previous win in Boston last season – and an extra 10 championship points earned for the best dive of the weekend means she closes the gap on the six-time champion to 130 points in the overall standings.
“It was a tough competition. I knew that with the win here, that I could wrap it up. But it puts me in a good place for the next event anyway. So yeah, let’s go for it,” Iffland, a New South Wales Institute of Sport (NSWIS) scholarship holder, said.
Eleanor Smart of the USA rounded out the top three at the historic Stari Most, securing her fourth career podium in the same location as her first. The result sees the 27-year-old leap from sixth to fourth overall, just three points behind Australia’s Xantheia Pennisi, who finished eighth.
In two months’ time, on November 19, the eyes of the cliff diving world will all be on Auckland, a brand new location on the calendar. With two title fights still to be settled, as well as an exciting battle for permanent places on next season’s tour, it has all the ingredients for a thrilling finale.
Visit the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series website for event information, results and series’ standings.
Photo and story courtesy of Red Bull