The 32-year-old Briton had it all to do on the very final dive of the afternoon at Yas Marina, having seen closest challengers Steve LoBue, Michal Navratil and Jonathan Paredes all usurp each other of top place with some stunning efforts in the final round of the tournament.
But when he needed to be at his best, the Eastleigh was exactly that, delivering an epic finale involving three backward somersaults and four twists to earn a score of 140.40 – including a perfect 10.0 from one of the seven judges – to blow his competitors out of the water.
Nearest rivals LoBue (112.20), Paredes (112.75) and Navratil (103.20) all went over 100 on their final efforts to lay down the gauntlet to the reigning world champion, who answered emphatically.
“I’m very happy. It feels great to be back on the 27m platform after a long pre-season of training. It was a high level competition, I felt the others hot on my heels, but I felt like I was diving really well,” said Hunt, the six-time Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series champion.
“I absolutely felt the pressure coming into the final dive. You can’t not hear the other scores from the other divers but that’s something you need to deal with.
“I put my back triple quad dive last because I’ve been doing it for five years and I know I can do it well.
“I think tactically lots of people get their most difficult or less stable dives over with on the first day. It’s nice to be on the platform and not having to roll the dice.”
Humble Hunt has been called ‘The Machine’ by his opponents and picked up right from where he left off last year, gaining successive victories in Abu Dhabi.
“I’m very flattered by that,” he added.
“It’s a great compliment and to be able to get to a level of consistency when people say that, I’m very happy. I’m trying to work as hard as I can in the off-season. Not take much time off so I can get back on the horse and keep improving.
“I still feel like I have extra points to make up and there’s room to improve.”
The women’s event, meanwhile, was won by diminutive Mexican Adriana Jimenez, who claimed her first medal in a FINA competition.
“I’m so happy. It’s a dream come true,” said the 32-year-old who won with 316.45 points, 3.65 ahead of runner-up Rhiannan Iffland, of Australia, and Belarus’ Yana Nestsiarava (296.80) in third.
“I’ve been working to be here the last two or three years. It was a dream of mine many years ago and I’m just so grateful to be here. I was just focused on what I had to do. It’s a beautiful moment for me.”
Team Abu Dhabi returns to northern France this weekend to take part in the 54th edition of the world renowned 24 Hours of Rouen endurance race on the River Seine. The race starts at 10am on Sunday morning and runs through to a finish on Monday.
The team running out of the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC) achieved a memorable Class S2 victory last year, courtesy of Thani Al-Qemzi, Alex Carella, Majed Al-Mansoori and Tullio Abbate, in Team Abu Dhabi 35. The ADIMSC is determined to repeat a success that saw them run for 792 laps on the 3.8km course to beat Navikart Racing by an impressive 37 laps. Rashed Al-Tayer replaces Abbate in Team Abu Dhabi 35 on this occasion.
Mohammed Al-Mehairbi, Rashed Al-Qemzi, Alberto Comparato and Rashed Al-Tayer were not so fortunate last year in Team Abu Dhabi 36 . They were running as high as sixth before Comparato crashed and the quartet retired after 321 laps. This year, Al-Mehairbi and Rashed Al-Qemzi will be joined by Faleh Al-Mansoori and Rashed Al-Remeithi in the 36 boat.
Last year’s outright race win fell to triple UIM F1 H20 World Champion Philippe Chiappe and his French crew of Peter and Nelson Morin and Rodolphe Avenel in the F1 CTIC China Team Moore entry.
“This will be my sixth time here in Rouen and it’s a special race for me,” said Carella, who won his class in 2015 alongside the Russian New Star 1 drivers Konstantin Ustinov and Dmitry and Roman Vandyshev. “I have won my class on three occasions now and am determined to try and give more success to Team Abu Dhabi.”
In an event that was devised by the Rouen Yacht Club in 1963, Class S2 competition for Team Abu Dhabi is likely to be strong, while last week’s Grand Prix of Portugal winner, Philippe Chiappe, is also sure to feature with new F1 H2O team-mate Peter Morin.
The opening round of the 2017 UIM World Endurance Championship gets underway with scrutineering of the boats on Lacroix island in the centre of the River Seine in Rouen on Friday, April 28. Drivers will then be permitted free practice on the course from 17.00hrs to 22.00hrs local time on Saturday evening (April 29).
The 24-hour race starts at 10.00hrs (noon UAE time) on Sunday (April 30) and the first section of 15 hours will run until 01.00hrs (3am UAE time). Competitors will then be permitted seven hours of rest before the final nine hours of racing starts at 07.00hrs (9am UAE time) on Monday, May 1 and finishes at 16.00hrs (6pm UAE time).
It takes two very special characters to decide to take on what is essentially the world’s toughest row, unsupported, across the Atlantic Ocean, with no prior rowing experience whatsoever.
Some would even call them crazy.
And if you spend just a little time with Omar Samra and Omar Nour you’ll swiftly realise they’re both extremely special with just the right amount of crazy.
The UAE-based Egyptian duo have announced on Wednesday that they will be attempting to row 5,000 nautical kilometres across the Atlantic, from San Sebastian de la Gomera in the Canary Islands, to Nelson’s Dockyard English Harbour in Antigua.
Samra, an experienced adventurer, mountaineer, entrepreneur, motivational speaker, future astronaut and U.N Goodwill Ambassador, and Nour, a professional triathlete and businessman, will embark on this gruelling journey starting December 12, 2017, along with other participants in a race dubbed The Atlantic Challenge.