Statement for Belgrade

Published: 07/08/2018


Dear fellow freedivers,

In June we closed 2018 AIDA Individual Pool World Championship. We followed many great performances and personal bests. We witnessed great organization and excellent conditions. Some of you again pushed forward known human limits in pool freediving and established new world records.

However, at the end of the competition, what supposed to be grand finale of another festival of freediving, created controversies and dispute.

When AIDA International established Natalia Molchanova Memorial Award in August 2015, it did so to commemorate most decorated women in history of freediving, as an athlete, sportswoman, world champion and world record holder, as well as a friend to many of us. Criteria for the award were discussed and agreed at the Board level at the time, but unfortunately were not globally shared with interested public and published as official document. Certain practice was established in Cyprus when the award was presented for the first time, which many of you rightfully understood as a rule for the future.

In Belgrade, for the first time since creation of the award, AIDA International started discussions about redefining criteria. In order to honor various extraordinary achievements, a one-time compromise was suggested and two awards were given. This was done during the competition and was not finalized and published in advance. Such actions missed its intended purpose and instead of making the ceremony that should be uniting us, created misunderstanding and divided freediving community.

AIDA International acknowledges its mistake and sincerely apologizes to all athletes, organizers and fellow freedivers.

In order to provide all clarifications and clearly define and publish objective criteria for the future, and also prevent some misleading and false interpretations issued by certain AIDA Nationals after the events in Belgrade, AIDA International Executive Board will shortly publish Natalia Molchanova Memorial Award selection criteria and share them with the AIDA International Assembly and interested public.

In addition, while money prizes will hopefully be continued in future, AIDA International Executive Board will remove any financial compensation from the Natalia Molchanova Memorial Award while leaving the money prizes for the medal winners only.

With best regards,

AIDA International Executive Board

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