Russian star diver Alexey Molchanov, 34, claimed a new record on Tuesday by snorkeling to 80 meters in the icy waters of Baikal in Siberia, the deepest lake in the world. In blue diving gear, he sank through a large opening carved in the ice in front of a small group of journalists and spectators before reappearing a few minutes later with a smile on his face.
“For me, freediving is not just a job or a hobby, but the business of a lifetime, and I am delighted to have this new opportunity to share this incredible sport with as many people as possible. “, He declared and whose remarks are relayed in a press release. The Guinness Book has yet to approve the record.
Fourteen league titles
“I would like to dedicate this new record to this amazing place where we are now. Baikal is a unique natural phenomenon and a living organism, which it is important to preserve for future generations, ”he added. Russian freediving star Alexey Molchanov holds numerous records and 14 world championship titles. His mother Natalia Molchanova, herself a champion of these disciplines, disappeared during a dive in Spain in 2015.
Igor Kobzev, governor of the Irkutsk region where part of Baikal is located, hailed the performance on Instagram, noting that the water temperature there is currently only 3 ° C. “Alexey draws attention to environmental issues and water purity. It deserves respect, ”he said.
Many ecological problems
The largest freshwater lake in the world and one of the most famous places in Russia with its vast ice fields during winter, Baikal has faced ecological problems for decades. It suffers in particular from an algae invasion, intense tourism and forest fires that surround it each year.
Russian environmentalists also denounce the decision of President Vladimir Putin to authorize the cutting of trees in the region, in order to develop the main railway lines which pass near the lake. The government has also said it is considering allowing industries to operate in the region after prior authorization.