The Lebanon Water Festival held its Apnea Constant Weight contest between Bouar and Tabarja on Sunday September 6, in a peaceful and relaxed atmosphere. The event, was a real success and gathered 12 Lebanese apnea divers. It was organized in collaboration with Wessam El Sabeh Ayoun who was Main Judge of the event and is on his way to Cyprus for the World Championships. In addition Marwan Hariri who was a main actor in this event, did not only trained contestants days before, in all the rules of the contest, but acted also as organisor and Surface Judge during the event. Marwan Hariri is a free diving master instructor and Lebanese national record holder for constant weight (50 meters), free immersion (43 meters) and constant no fins (32 meters).
Apnea requires a large number of technical support, therefore the event was supported and organized in collaboration with the scuba diving club Narcosis Diving Facilities located at the Four Stars Resort in Ghazir, which provided boats and coordination for the support divers to ensure the safety of the contestants. Mario Lahoud and Ziad Chaccour were the deep judges. They were also in charge of underwater photography and filming. The Red Cross, Coast Guards and Civil Defense were also present to ensure safety.
a/Category 31 meters to 40 meters:
First position : Bilal Ramadan 40/42 meters with 2:06 minutes
Second position: Hussein Rmeiti 36 meters with 1:32 minutes
Third position: Ali Loz 35:02 meters 1:32 minutes
b/ Category 21 meters to 30 meters:
First position: Hussein Madi with 30.8 meters in 1:12 minutes
Second Position: Mosaab Hariri with 27.5 meters in 0:57 minutes
Third Position: Hael Molky with 25.6 in 0:58 minutes
Finally, Marwan Hariri took the first place in the 11-20 meters category which he attempted after being surface judge for the whole event.
"The apnea contest was the best event in terms of standards, performance and organization. All participants were very happy about how it happened. It was also a one of a kind event because all participants were individual participants, which means they don't belong to a club. With this event, we are now confident that the sport is on the right track and hope it will continue in the coming years. I decided to be part of the organization of the Lebanon Water Festival because I wanted to make the contest happen for the sake of the sport and the sake of Lebanon", Marwan Hariri says.
"The Apnea Constant Weight Contest followed international rules and was very professional. This contest has a great impact and is very positive for Lebanon as it gives the chance to participants to compete with each other in a safe environment. The Lebanon Water Festival is putting a lot of efforts into the development of this sport, allowing Apnea divers to compete under international regulations and get exposure. Such events show that Lebanon can do as good as international organizations", Wessam El Sabeh Ayoun added.
Lebanon has a long tradition of freediving for sponges' collection and spear fishing in communities of fishermen living along the coast. This contest aims at professionalizing the sports and ensuring it is practiced according to international safety guidelines.
"Competitive apnea allows both novice and experienced apnea divers the opportunity to test their skills in an organized and secure environment. We want to give athletes like Marwan Hariri and others, who already represents Lebanon on the international level, a chance to practice their sport in their country while preparing the country to hold future international contests, which would be handled by the Lebanese federation", Annette Khoury, co-founder of the Lebanon Water Festival says.
Constant Weight is the most traditional form of diving and consists in a test of depth on one breath. The Apnea diver must swim using fins to a predetermined depth and must return to the surface, unaided, with all the equipment he started with still in place.
As the Lebanon Water Festival wishes to put safety first and follow international safety norms, the apnea contest was based on participants' planification of their dives. Each diver called its dive, announcing the depth and the duration of his dive. If divers do not respect their depth or the technical measures in place then they get a penalty which the main judge is sole decision maker.
Surface Judge: Marwan Hariri
Assistant to Judge: John Ghazal
Warm up safety Judge: Rachid Zock
Warm up Judge: Mohammad Khalil
Deep WATER judges and safety
Toni Abou Jaoude from Narcosis Diving Facilities
Safety Diver Christel Abboud