The third task on day one was the Paraball – an excellent task for both competitors and spectators with a lot of action and clear results. Pilots have two minutes in which to pick up three 55cm ‘gym’ balls, carry them between their feet and drop them in a 2.5m wide basket.
This is not easy; it requires great concentration and accurate control of the paramotor in order to arrive slowly enough to grab the ball and pick it up cleanly. Pilots took off in reverse competition order, with those in last place in the rankings being the first to fly the course.
The skill level needed was plain to see as the first few competitors had to resort to kicking the ball or dropping it in flight without reaching the basket. Then the pressure grew as those in contention for the top places showed how it should be done. Approach speeds increased but not at the expense of accuracy; soon it became a question of time as competitors were consistently scoring three balls in the basket.
The results showed another strong performance from Team Thailand, occupying the top four positions with Jiri George MACAK taking overall lead. Can the host nation pilots stay in contention? Guangqiang SHENG had flown well up until this task but only managed two balls in the basket, bringing him only 8 points in comparison with MACAK’s 25. Consistency is vital in paramotor competitions and pilots cannot afford to drop points if they are to end the week with a medal around their necks. Let’s see how the rest of the competition takes shape.
Results are available at http://results.haiyang2012.com.