July 31, 2013 / 4:14 PM / 6 years ago

Colombia's Duque wins inaugural men's high diving gold

Colombia's Orlando Duque performs a dive in round 1 of the men's 27m high diving during the World Swimming Championships at Moll de la Fusta in Barcelona July 29, 2013. REUTERS/Gustau Nacarino

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Orlando Duque of Colombia became the first men’s world champion in the dizzying discipline of high diving when he launched himself from a 27-metre platform into Barcelona’s harbor to win gold in the inaugural competition on Wednesday.

Duque amassed 590.20 points to top the 13-strong field, with Briton Gary Hunt taking silver on 589.30 and Jonathan Paredes of Mexico the bronze with 578.35.

Athletes, who are described as “totally out of their minds” by Olympic 10-metre platform champion David Boudia, plummet for three seconds before smacking into the water at around 90 kilometers per hour.

Both male and female competitors - American Cesilie Carlton took gold in the women’s event on Tuesday and admitted afterwards she suffers from vertigo - must land feet first to help avert injury.

Four scuba divers, two jet skis and a boat are on hand nearby in case of mishap.

“I’m afraid of heights and I get pretty nervous on the platform,” Carlton told reporters on Tuesday.

“But I know I’m in control of what I’m doing so as long as I go very quickly and don’t look down for too long it works.”

Carlton and her rivals competed from a 20-metre platform.

Editing by Pritha Sarkar

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