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Elite divers compete at Ik Kil

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A major cliff diving event is coming to the Ik Kil cenote near Chichen Itza. Photo: Red Bull
A major cliff diving event is coming to the Ik Kil cenote near Chichen Itza. Photo: Red Bull

The Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series returns to the green heart of the Yucatán jungle on Friday. Divers will plunge into the cenote Ik Kil, near Chichen Itza.

Ik Kil has assumed an almost mythic dimension. The cenote has been thought to contain sacred powers and, at 60 meters wide and 39 meters deep, it is certainly awe-inspiring. Its height of 27 meters is suited perfectly for high diving competition.

The root-covered sacred well in the eco-archaeological park of Cenote Ik Kil, was the location for the second stop of the 2011 World Series, which inspired the world’s high diving elite in a close fight for the podium.

Sacha Kutsenko of the Ukraine dives from the 27.25 metre platform during the first round of the second stop of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series at Ik Kil cenote in 2011. Photo: Red Bull
Sacha Kutsenko of the Ukraine dives from the 27.25 metre platform during the first round of the second stop of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series at Ik Kil cenote in 2011. Photo: Red Bull

Their performances will be judged by five international judges, including four-time American Olympic gold medalist Greg Louganis.

Diving into what amounts to be a dark hole will be a challenge to divers. The surrounding roots and branches present a unique challenge to the divers more used to the open platforms seen elsewhere in the world.

This is the final stop on the 2014 tour. Previously this year, divers plunged from La Salve Bridge, Bilbao, Spain, and from the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, its roof becoming an urban cliff over Boston Harbor. That event was sold out.

Ik Kil cenote is a popular stop on the way to Chichen Itza, especially with tour buses, since there is a restaurant and store on the premisis.

Its stairway is beautifully lit up and carved into limestone rock, reaching the swimming platform, which is usually crowded with swimmers. Vines descend from the top and little water drops constantly fall from above, and under the water’s surface, harmless black catfish reside.

Several Mayan sacrificial objects, pieces of gold, jade, ceramics, incense and even human remains were recovered from the well between 1904 and 1910.

Il Kil lineup

Men’s startlist
Gary Hunt (UK)
Artem Silchenko (RUS)
Steven LoBue (USA)
Orlando Duque (COL)
Blake Aldridge (UK)
Jonathan Paredes (MEX)
David Colturi (USA)
Michal Navratil (CZE)
Kris Kolanus (POL)
Andy Jones (USA)
Jucelino Junior (BRA) – Wildcard
Edivaldo Keda Moura (BRA) – Wildcard
Jose Wilker (BRA) – Wildcard
Christian Arayon (COL) – Wildcard
Women’s startlist
Rachelle Simpson (USA)
Anna Bader (GER)
Ginger Huber (USA)
Cesilie Carlton (USA)
Jaqueline Valente (BRA)
Tara Hyer-Tira (USA) – Wildcard
Adriana Jimenez (MEX) – Wildcard
Lysanne Richard (CAN) – Wildcard

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