Paragliding Pre World Cup at HP in October

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Dharamshala, Jul 13 (UNI) Himachal Pradesh will hold Paragliding Pre- World Cup Championship at Bir near Billing in Kangra district in October later this year for which the Aero Club of India has granted approval and the event has been granted category II status by Federation Aviation International (FAI).

Aero Club of India has granted its sanction to hold the Pre World Cup at Billing and issued a no objection certificate. The FAI has also recognized the event and has granted it a 'Category-II Status' in international ranking, state Tourism Secretary Manisha Nanda told UNI here.

She said the event would be held in association with the Paragliding World Cup Association (PWCA) and was being conducted according to its guidelines and the Aero Club of India (ACI), the national sports body.

The PWCA has been approached for its permission, which was likely to be received soon, and the online registration of the pilots likely to participate in the ensuing Pre World Cup would start from July 28, later this month, she said.

Ms Nanda said a high level meeting would be held in the last week of August to finalize all the security measures and other arrangements for the event.

Thousands would witness the event at Billing when brightly coloured canopies would sail in the air over this picturesque district dominated in the backdrop of snow clad Dhauladhar ranges, she added.

She said the event was being jointly organized by the Department of Tourism and Civil Aviation and Himachal Government in collaboration with the Paragliding World Cup Association France, besides Union Government's Department of Tourism, Ministry of Youth Services and Sports Western Himalayan Mountaineering Institute located at Manali.

Bir and Billing sites for the event are regarded the best in the world.

The Tourism Secretary said Billing offered opportunities for high altitude and cross country flying for more than 200 kms, adding that the world record for out and return paragliding was set at Bir-Billing by Frenchman Xavior Redmond when he flew 132.5 km.

The initiative to launch and sustain the event was taken by the state's Department of Tourism and Civil Aviation and over the last couple of years the infrastructure and facilities in the area and for the event had been created steadily, she said.

Ms Nanda said this year the take off sites had been improved at Billing, a black-topped road of considerable length was expected to make the journey comfortable over a distance of 14 km from Bir-Billing.

The rescue and retrieval would again be handled by the Western Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Manali and the paragliding rules of PWCA would be applicable for the event and the technical aspects of this year's Pre-world Cup would be supervised by the Aero Club of India in association with the PWCA.

''The State Department of Tourism and Civil Aviation will be responsible for the overall conduct of the event and also superintend the administrative aspects of the event.'' She claimed that the success and experience of the past years, makes Himachal a strong contender for hosting the Paragliding World Cup in the future and the current Pre-World Cup was another event in the chain of world-class events that Himachal had been organizing to place the state securely on the world tourism map.

UNI XC AS HS RKM RAI2100

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