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An Egyptian skydiver during the accuracy event at the World Parachuting Championships at Skydive Dubai in the Marina.
An Egyptian skydiver during the accuracy event at the World Parachuting Championships at Skydive Dubai in the Marina.

Crowds turn out in force in Dubai for parachuting championships

World Parachuting Championships Mondial 2012 get under way.

DUBAI // The World Parachuting Championships Mondial 2012 got under way yesterday at Sky Dive Dubai under cloudy skies that were deemed perfect by the competitors.

Said Al Shauq and his Omani teammates fared well in the accuracy competition, which requires participants to land on a two-centimetre target. They scored a low two points in a competition where zero was the main goal.

"We did well but the wind started to pick up a bit in the afternoon after we finished, which could affect the guys landing now," Al Shauq, 40, said. "There is luck involved but you also have to work with the parachute. It's not easy."

For the Omanis, the competition was going to plan and the team was looking forward to the crowds, weather permitting.

Gusts of 60 kph are forecast for this morning, which could jeopardise the canopy pilot competition. Winds must be below 22 knots, or 40kph.

Khalid Mohammad Khalid, a member of the UAE's eight-man formation team, began the first of 10 rounds yesterday. "It went really well," the 21-year-old professional skydiver said afterwards. "I really enjoyed it and it is great to have the event here in Dubai."

Spectators trained their eyes skywards, watching the daredevils slowly hover above the targets and then land - some harder and faster than others.

Spectator Jon Sharp, a Briton, started the four-day weekend early. "I don't know what I'm looking for but it certainly looks like a lot of fun," the 38-year-old business development manager said. "It's like any sport where the professionals make it look easy to land on such an accurate spot."

He said he has always wanted to try a tandem jump, and yesterday's action convinced him.

"I think it is a lot of mind over matter. To see what is going on here and all the professionals hanging around taking it easy, it makes me feel easy about trying it. I've spoken to a few of them about it already," he said.

On the fringes of the opening day, a UAE Parachuting Federation was announced.

According Yousef Al Hammadi, director of the event, the new federation would aim to get young people involved in the sport.

"It will enhance the long-term endeavours of the of the sport and improve it throughout the GCC," he said.

eharnan@thenational.ae

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