Daredevil divers plunge from Bosnian bridge in centuries-old tradition

RESENDING WITH COMPLETE SCRIPT

VIDEO SHOWS: DIVERS JUMPING OFF OLD MOSTAR BRIDGE / DIVERS SWIMMING IN RIVER / SPECTATORS WATCHING DIVERS / JUDGES GIVING SCORES FOR COMPETITORS

SHOWS: MOSTAR, BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA (JULY 26, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

1. CROWD LOOKING AT BRIDGE WATCHING DIVER GETTING READY FOR JUMP

2. DIVER JUMPING OFF BRIDGE

3. CROWD APPLAUDING

4. DIVER JUMPING OFF BRIDGE

5. JUDGES GIVING NOTES

6. DIVER JUMPING OFF BRIDGE

7. OTHER DIVERS WATCHING COMPETITION

8. DIVER JUMPING OFF BRIDGE

9. JUDGES SHOWING NOTES

10. VARIOUS OF DIVER JUMPING OFF BRIDGE

11. (SOUNDBITE) (Bosnian) ORGANIZER OF MOSTAR BRIDGE DIVING COMPETITION AND 13-TIME WINNER, LORENS LISTO, SAYING:

"Coronavirus did not reduce the number of jumpers and the audience too much, because people are really craving any kind of sports events, and we all know how football and everything else affected Bosnia and Herzegovina. These guys are brave, they are jumping off the bridge so they are not afraid of the COVID-19. "

12. VARIOUS OF DIVERS STANDING ON BRIDGE AHEAD OF COMPETITION

13. VARIOUS OF DIVERS WARMING UP

14. DIVER COOLING DOWN WITH WATER

15. SPECTATORS SITTING IN DINGHIES, WATCHING COMPETITION

16. DIVER STANDING ON BRIDGE EDGE GETTING READY TO JUMP

17. DIVER JUMPING INTO WATER

18. DIVER SWIMMING IN WATER

19. (SOUNDBITE) (Bosnian) WINNER OF MOSTAR BRIDGE DIVING CONTEST, VEDAD BASIC, SAYING:

"During the coronavirus we were responsible, my coach and I were in isolation, we were training far in the woods. We were preparing for these two jumps because I was the only jumper from Mostar and we managed to keep the title in the city."

20. VARIOUS OF AUDIENCE WATCHING COMPETITION

21. DIVER JUMPING OFF BRIDGE

22. VARIOUS OF WOMEN SITTING IN WINDOW WATCHING COMPETITION

23. BASIC RECEIVING FIRST PRIZE

24. (SOUNDBITE) (Bosnian) WINNER OF MOSTAR BRIDGE DIVING CONTEST, VEDAD BASIC, SAYING:

"It was a wonderful feeling for me to jump because it was calm weather, the river was calm, I enjoyed it, I enjoyed both jumps and I am overjoyed."

25. BASIC HOLDING PRIZE, POSING FOR PHOTOGRAPH

26. PEOPLE APPLAUDING

STORY: Divers hurled themselves from a 24-metre (79-ft) high Ottoman-era bridge in the Bosnian town of Mostar on Sunday (July 26), staging a centuries-old contest even though the COVID-19 pandemic prevented many visitors from coming.

The picturesque southern town is famous for the high-dive competition at its Old Bridge, which was rebuilt in 2004 after it was destroyed by Bosnian Croat artillery during the Bosnian war in the 1990s and has become a symbol of reconciliation.

The annual contest - which is thought to date back to the 15th century - is a big tourist attraction. The plunge from the bridge is also a traditional rite of passage for local youths.

Lorens Listo, organizer of the diving competition and a 13-time winner, said the number of competitors had not dropped significantly because many people were "craving" to compete.

Under measures to curb the spread of COVID-19, only 100 people were allowed to watch the contest, from a fenced platform just below the white bridge which arches over the Neretva River.

A few hundred more spectators watched from further away, observing social-distancing guidelines.

After a strict lockdown, Bosnia has seen a spike in infections since the easing of restrictions at the end of June and the reopening of borders with neighbouring countries.

On Sunday, Bosnia reported 10,334 cases of the coronavirus, of these nearly 5,000 in the past three weeks, and 287 deaths.

(Production: Dado Ruvic, Malgorzata Wojtunik)

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting