Defending world champion Rhiannan Iffland has extended her overall lead heading into the mid-season break after clinching her second round win of this year’s Red Bull Cliff Diving series.
After missing the podium in Portugal a fortnight ago, the only time in her 10 appearances on the international circuit, the Nords Wharf 25-year-old bounced back with an impressive victory in Italy on the weekend.
The result in Polignano A Mare adds to Iffland’s successful opening round venture in Ireland last month and makes for seven career triumphs since debuting last year in title-winning fashion.
Having collected 490 points in total she now opens up a 130-point advantage over nearest rival Mexican Adriana Jimenez (360) on the 2017 leaderboard.
Next best are American Ginger Huber (340) and fellow Australian Helena Merten (320), 22 of the Gold Coast.
Three rounds remain – US (September 3), Bosnia and Herzegovina (September 16) and Chile (October 21).
Most importantly for Iffland she overcame a recent groin injury that hampered her previous showing in Sao Miguel and threatened to derail her aspirations to claim back-to-back crowns.
“I had the injury so that was my main concern in the past week trying to get better for the next few competitions,” she said.
“I felt the pressure a lot and it was hard the first day of training here, but I couldn’t be happier now.”
Iffland, who reached 305.80 points in Italy, also regained confidence while keeping at bay wildcards Jaki Valente (280.15) of Brazil and German Anna Bader (279.05).
“I felt really good up there,” she said.
“At the first dive I felt a bit of pressure, because Ginger [Huber] did an amazing dive and the second one I had Blake [Aldridge] up there telling me what I had to do and how to do it. But I just let myself enjoy it and let the nerves pass. I had a great dive, so I’m super stoked.”
Iffland was given a rap from the event commentators after performing her trademark winner.
“She continues to dominate and is so consistent with that particular dive,” they said.
“The jump off the platform, good form in the air and she just hits that entry time and time again. Incredible.”
In the men’s competition Italian Alessandro De Rose won at home.
WOMEN: Rhiannan Iffland (490), Adriana Jimenez (360), Ginger Huber (340), Helena Merten (320), Anna Bader (260).
MEN: Orlando Duque (380), Gary Hunt (370), Andy Jones (300), Jonathan Paredes (290), Blake Aldridge, David Colturi (280).