Curtis Bartholomew from USA is the new World Games Champion for Canopy Piloting! Thomas Dellibac, also from USA, and Pablo Hernandez from Spain followed in the overall results of the combined accuracy, distance and speed events.
In Paragliding Accuracy, the round 5, which started on Friday, could not be completed yesterday due to changing winds.
Curtis’ magnificent victory made the “Athlete of the day” at the World Games 2013 - a great honour considering that more than 4000 athletes participate in the games. He was invited by the World Games Organising Committee to come and receive a watch on stage at the World Games cultural centre.
Winners of both sports will receive their medals at the prize-giving ceremony of the airsports events scheduled today at 15:00 at the Marco Fidel Suarez Air Force Base. In the evening, all of the athletes and officials will attend the closing ceremony of the World Games 2013.
1 round for each event was held yesterday.
Accuracy round 3: J. Bartos from Czech Republic and Curtis Bartholomew from USA both scored 91pts, while Ian Bobo (USA) scored 90pts.
Speed round 3 was the semi-finals with 18 competitors: Timothy McMaster from the United Arab Emirates came first, followed by Nicholas Batsch (USA) and Brian McNenney (USA).
Distance round 3 was the finals with 9 competitors: Nicholas Batsch from USA pulled it off once again in the distance event by achieving a 144.77m jump. Curtis Bartholomow was a few centimeters behind with 142,85m, and Thomas Dellibac (USA) 134.85m.
Curtis Bartholomew, 27, started skydiving seven years ago and canopy piloting quickly after. His main dropzone is Skydive Deland in Florida. He is the reigning world canopy piloting champion after his victory at the Mondial 2012 in Dubai, and he will be competing at the World Cup in Russia later this month.
“I feel great, there is nothing else like it”, Curtis said just after he was declared as the champion. “The World Games means a lot to me. This competition happens only every four year so to be able to represent my country and be here is really a great thing.”
“The pond and the facilities were really good, we were super close to the crowd so they get to were able to be right in the action. The paragliders went after us and it gave us the chance to decompress and gather our thoughts before we went up and jumped again, so it was great!”
“Here in Cali it is 3000 feet above sea level but it is humid. The air conditions are tough, really changing all the time, I never experienced anything like it so it was definitely challenging.”
Asked what he thought of the Colombian public, Curtis said: “I love it! We are not used to such a big crowd, and they love it, everyone is asking for pictures and autographs. We have never seen a crowd this big before for sure.”
11 pilots flew in the round 5 on Friday and 17 yesterday, which meant that the round was short of one pilot to be finished. The completion of this round is important for the pilots: the paragliding accuracy competition needs 3 rounds to be valid, but 5 rounds must be flown to allow pilots to drop their lowest score.
British pilot Andy Shaw, who came to the competition with his two children Jason, 12, and Samson, 13 said: “Competition here is really great because of the very thermic climate. Thermals are very frequent and prolonged in Cali, whereas in the Alps you won’t get thermals until 11:00-12:00 and then at 14:00 it is too strong to take off. Here at 9:00 it is already thermic so it is interesting and makes it a very good competition. The massive challenge is the variations, which is brilliant. Every time you land you have a different landing. Today we are having massive problems with very changing winds and it is too dangerous to tow paragliders downwind.”
The spectators came again in great numbers to see the airsports competitions and cheers for the athletes, which leaves none of them unmoved: “Hearing the crowd cheering is extremely exciting and you try not to play with the audience when you are in the sky because you hear your name and the score you had before, which gives an impression in your head that adds to your nerves – you really have to concentrate on your current flight,” he said.
Paragliding and Parachuting competitions take place alternatively, and athletes of both sports had the opportunity to meet their fellow countrymen. “I met British skydiver Martin Reynolds, the camaraderie is brilliant. It is great to travel so far and be with your countrymen,” he added.
The World Games are organised and governed by the International World Games Association (IWGA), under the patronage of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
The 2013 edition takes place in Cali, Colombia, over a period of 11 days from July 25 to August 4 2013. 32 official sports feature in the programme, including Parachuting Canopy Piloting and Paragliding Accuracy, while AeroMusicals (Aeromodelling) is present as a demonstration sport. The Parachuting and Paragliding competitions run concurrently on the same site, for maximum spectator interest, from 1 to 4 August 2013. Some 65 competitors (36 for parachuting and 29 for paragliding) gained entry to the Games.