Slovenia takes gold in Paragliding Accuracy

For the third time in a row, Slovenia takes home the gold medals for Paragliding Accuracy. Matjaz Feraric is the FAI World Champion for the second time, and his team took first place once again. Silver medallist is Andy Webster from UK. And 16 year old Martin Jovanoski of Macedonia won third place. In the team competition, Czech Republic took second place and UK gathered the bronze medals. The 4th FAI World Paragliding Accuracy Championship, held in Trakai, Lithuania, 9 to 18 February, 2007, is the first winter paragliding competition and the first to hold a Women’s Paragliding Accuracy Championship, with 11 entries from 6 countries. The gold medal for first woman was won by Funda Durusu-Cici from Turkey (45th overall). The silver went to Czech youngster Katerina Pankova, and the bronze medal was awarded to Olga Lonina of Latvia. Flying an Air Systems Skyamsen, Feraric took the lead in the sixth round when Bulgarian newcomer, Tzvetan Tzolov (Gradient Bright) misjudged conditions for a 4m score. “Accuracy standards have risen dramatically since Serbia two years ago,” Feraric commented. “The competition was much tougher this year. And it’s good to see so much new young talent coming through.” Webster (UK) flew consistently well on his Ozone Atom throughout the competition; a fine achievement as he has been recovering from injury since last summer, and was the last to be selected for the team. The inspirational performance of Jovanoski (MKD) also on a Skyamsen, was remarkable not only because he is only 16, but also because he normally flies cross country competitions. “I started Accuracy for fun initially, but found the skills learned very useful when flying in South Africa last year where the landing options are limited.” He added: “Some pilots think that Accuracy competitions must be boring, but actually they are very exciting, and it is certainly not as easy as it looks!” With three pilots in the top 10, Czech Republic is the nation to watch, and according to charismatic team leader, Tomas Lednik, they have already set their sights on gold for next time. Lednik (Sky Conas) and team mate Kamil Konecny (Sky Cima) were well matched, running level by round 3 in 16th and 17th position, and with just 2cm between them after round 6 and again after round 9, by which time they had risen to 8th and 9th place. The final round of the competition saw Konecny top the team leader with his 15cm pad score and taking 5th place overall. The Czech team performance almost caught the Slovenians in the final round. In fact Slovenia had only two pilots in the top 10, and a couple of them certainly dropped a couple of big scores. The Slovenians’ gold was under serious threat, and may make them work harder at encouraging their women to fly. Certainly the two Czech girls made valuable contributions to the team scores. Home team, Lithuania was pleased with its 4th position, with two pilots just missing the top ten places. Japan team leader, Yoshiki Oka (Ozone Element) was disappointed with his own flying, though he finished in a respectable 14th place. Already he’s planning how to do better next time. Latvia started well, but could not sustain its position, dropping from 5th to 6th place. Serbia was probably the unluckiest team, suffering injury and sickness during the week. Yet congratulations go to Zoran Petrovic who only missed out on the medals by a paltry 21cm. The closing ceremony and final celebrations were held in the picturesque Trakai Castle on an island on the frozen lake. CIVL President, Flip Koetsier, helped present the medals, together with the President of the Lithuanian HG and PG Sport Federation and the Mayor of Trakai. Fire dancers and fireworks provided a stunning backdrop (if the castle itself was not enough) to the traditional Lithuanian food and beer. Congratulations too, to the organising team and host of volunteers, led by Violeta Grigoraiteine – A great success. For full results and photo gallery visit: www.pagaukveja.lt