December 6, 2015
With nail-biting thrills down to the very final flight, the paragliding accuracy landing competition concluded yesterday after 12 rounds.
George Cotet from Romania finished in first place, Qiang Ma from China in second place and Goran Djurkovic from Serbia in third. The top female was Nunnapat Phuchong from Thailand, in 10th place overall.
Excitement levels reached fever pitch in last six rounds, as Cotet and many times World Champion, Matjaz Feraric from Slovenia, battled for supremacy.
The two had tied scores for four rounds, up to the penultimate round. Djurkovic and Ma were also tied in third place with only five points separating them from the leaders. The final round was flown in reverse order, according to the competition standing, so the tension was mounting as the championship neared completion.
The first upset came with Tomas Lednik from Czech Republic, a hot favourite for this competition. He badly misjudged his final flight, landing 359cm away from the target and dropping from fifth position down to 14th in the final rankings. In the fly off between Djurkovic and Ma, Djurkovic made 4cm to Ma’s 3cm, moving the Chinese pilot up one place.
Then Matjaz, the champion role model for many in this sport, made a jaw-dropping flight, releasing from the tow rather low, and landing well short of the target, dropping him from first place to sixth. The gold medallist can also claim an FAI World Record for his scores in this competition, having logged 11 consecutive flights less than 5cm. A remarkable achievement in this fast growing discipline. For these Paragliding Accuracy pilots, their ultimate achievement is consecutive "DCs" (dead centre), hitting the 2cm diameter centre spot. In this competition, across more than 220 flights, there were only 11 DCs scored. Just one year ago, the sport moved from a 3cm to a 2cm DC.
Speaking after the 10th round, Czech pilot Tomas said: "Finally I got the yellow spot! I was nearly sure it wasn’t working because I was always thinking that I hit it."
By FAI Media Team
Photo: Verity Sowden / FAI Media Team
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