The FAI World Air Games have begun

The FAI World Air Games 2009 have been officially declared open at a grand ceremony in the Piazza San Carlo in Turin city centre. In front of a crowd of several thousand locals, the Mayor of Turin Mr. Sergio CHIAMPARINO opened the Games and wished all competitors a fair competition and the best of luck in the week to come.

The ceremony had a strong aviation theme, starting with a display of birds of prey, including a peregrine falcon who, at one point chose to perch on the head of the FAI Korean delegation Mr. SON, sitting in the second row. Competitors were presented on stage to a background of aviation videos on a large screen before taking their place around the seats of the invited guests, including Mr Giuseppe LEONI, President of the Italian Aero Club, Mr. Guiseppe VIRIGLIO, President of the World Air Games Local Organising Committee, FAI President Mr. Pierre PORTMANN and many other senior officials.

The aviation theme continued with a parachuting display over the square with the parachutists displaying great skill by landing with pinpoint accuracy in the middle of square surrounded by high buildings. The ceremony was brought to a close by the lighting of the World Air Games flame; the flame was first ignited on the Greek island of Icaria and transported by the Greek Aero Club to Turin. See here for more.

Turin has celebrated the start of the Games. Competitors have received their first briefings in preparation for the first competitions on Sunday.