​ Air Sports at The World Games showcase 'the best of the best'

TWG17 21Jul17_5_2The first day of Air Sports competition at The World Games in Wroclaw, Poland was a huge success, with good flying weather allowing every discipline tocomplete a double session of competition flying.

In Canopy Piloting a French parachutist set a new World Games record in Canopy Piloting.

Cedric Veiga Rios, 32, flew 196m during the Distance run. It is the furthest anyone has ever flown in Canopy Piloting (Swooping) at the World Games.

In Canopy Piloting (Distance) skydivers must pass through a gate at 1.5m above the ground and then travel a minimum of 70m across the Swooping pond. “Then we must go as far as possible,” Cedric said. “I flew for 196 metres.”

It was 30m more than anyone else went in the competition today, a result he puts down to training. “I’ve trained hard for this, and it works. You have to do your training, then make it happen in the competition.”

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In Glider Aerobatics Eugene Schaal (GER) finished the day in the lead after two complete tasks. However, it was only by the thinnest of margins - only four points out of 4,000 separate him from rival Ferenc Toth (HUN).

Schaal was relaxed about his position at the top of the points table. Sitting in the shade of the airfield campsite he said he had enjoyed both flights. “I have not looked closely at the scores yet, but obviously the first flight I won, and the second one was not too bad either.”

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Meanwhile Ferenc Toth was happy too. “There are just a couple of points between me and Eugen Schaal,” he said, “The competition is still hot!”

There are two more programmes to run in the Glider Aerobatics, including the spectacular Freestyle round when pilots perform to music with smoke.

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In Paramotoring, the morning saw two "clean tasks" according to Meet Director Rob Hughes. Those were Slalom with Kicking Sticks, and Slalom with Footballs - the fun-sounding ‘Paramotor Soccer’.

In both tasks pilots must complete a slalom course around pylons, before slowing down to complete a low-level precision task.

Hughes said: “We had a clean two tasks with few penalties. There are firm favourites like World Champion Alex Mateos, and he was fast.”

Alex Mateos himself wasn’t so convinced. “I did not so great, I think I am down,” he said. In fact he won the first task, but scored fourth in the second task. Later in the evening the Paramotor pilots enjoyed more good flying conditions that allowed them to complete another two tasks.

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After the flying had stopped, Air Sports athletes gathered in a ceremony to mark the opening of the Air Sports part of The World Games.

FAI President Frits Brink welcomed the athletes. “We are proud and honoured to contribute to the success of The World Games and to showcase the best of the best in the sky – pilots, skydivers, officials, we all stand for friendship, team spirit and for safety. We call this airmanship.”

Air Sports at The World Games continues for two more days of full competition in Wroclaw, Poland – Saturday and Sunday 22-23 July 2017.

The air sports events at The World Games will be covered on the FAI social media channels – Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Instagram – as well as with daily reports on the FAI website.