MANILA, Philippines – Filipino-Australian Xantheia Pennisi will compete in the Red Bull Cliff Diving world series on Friday, Apirl 12, in Miniloc Island, El Nido, Palawan to become the tour's first partcipant of Filipino descent.
Pennisi – whose mother is from Tarlac – returned to the Philippines after 7 years, but will be representing Australia as she goes against 24 professionals from 18 countries. (READ: Olympian to officiate PH leg of Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series 2019)
She hopes that she can be a source of inspiration to the country's homegrown diving talents to pursue the high-diving discipline.
"I [am] representing Australia, now that it’s here in the Philippines, my whole family will be watching me, so [it's like] I will be representing Philippines and Australia, but I hope that it will inspire the other divers," said the 20-year-old during the press conference on Thursday, April 4, at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex.
The Brisbane native also joined the young Philippine diving team in a training session to demonstrate cliff diving techiniques that differ from the Olympic standard.
Before she dared to take the 20-meter height in 2017, Pennisi was a gymnast and traditional diver.
Together with three-time champion Rhiannan Iffland of Australia, the newcomer started diving from the heights of 10m to 15m and 17m and finally mustered up the courage to leap from the 20-m cliff in June 2018.
According to the chairman of the Philippine National Diving Team, Marie Dimanche, the national sports association (NSA) is interested in looking at Pennisi's background and qualificiations in diving that may gain her a spot in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games team.
"We have to review her dive list because cliff diving is a different [discipline] from the FINA [standard]," said Dimanche.
"As long as she has a Filipino passport, and our coaches see that she qualifies, then she can join the team."
Also present in the tour are nine-time men's champion Orlando Duque from Colombia, who will be competing in his last season and Iffland, who looks to nab her fourth title this season.
The tour's youngest permanent diver Eleanor Smart of USA joins the bid for a top 3 finish in the world championships and the world series.
Date: April 5, 2019 | By: Beatrice Go | Newspaper: Rappler | Source: https://www.rappler.com/sports/by-sport/other-sports/227411-filipino-australian-cliff-diver-compete-world-series