Fil-Aussie hopes to pave way for more Filipino cliff divers
EL NIDO, Philippines – A Filipino-Australian seeks to help boost the sport of cliff diving in the Philippines.
Xantheia Pennisi, born to a Filipino mother from Tarlac, will enjoy a homecourt advantage as she sees action in the Philippine leg of the 2019 Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series at the Big Lagoon here on Saturday, April 13.
A wild card rookie in the World Series, the 20-year-old hopes Filipinos will fall in love with the sport just like the way she did.
"Hopefully a lot of people will see this want to try diving themselves because this is such as fun, challenging and a beautiful sport a lot of people are missing out."
"For me, I never knew about the sport until probably two years ago and once I saw it, I knew inside my heart that I want do it," added Pennisi, who first started in gymnastics before she transitioned to diving.
"[T]here are some people they just probably don't have access to it and I think that being introduced to the sport [is needed]."
Jumping off a cliff as high as 21 meters or 70 feet in the women's division, Pennisi admitted fear often takes over, especially since they can go as fast as 85 kilometers per hour during a three-second dive.
But the satisfaction of successfully completing a dive ultimately trumps the fright.
"Once I enter the water and I come up, it feels amazing [because] I was really so scared even during the dive. But once it's done, [it's okay]," she said.
Pennisi will be competing against 9 other women cliff divers, including mentor and reigning three-time World Series champion Rhiannan Iffland. – Rappler.com