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Rain dampens parachuting championship practices in Dubai

The canopy piloting category at the World Parachuting Championships Mondial 2012 was postponed but afternoon jumps have resumed as long as weather allows.

DUBAI// Competitors gathered for the third day of the World Parachuting Championships Mondial 2012 in Dubai were unable to take off as scheduled at 9.30 Friday morning as the weather played spoilsport.

Officials had to push the scheduled evening opening ceremony from tonight to Sunday because of the rains and uncertain weather.

"The official opening ceremony has been postponed to Sunday due to the rains," said a media spokesman.
Jumpers were scheduled to take to the skies at 9.30 am but had to wait until the rains let off.

"They started around 12.10pm but had to stop at 1pm and resumed jumping at 1.30pm. We are still on standby because of the weather. We'll have to stop if things become worse," the spokesman said.

An official at the championships said the jumpers have been allowed to practice intermittenly this afternoon and will continue to do so as weather permits.

The largest parachute event ever held, the championships have attracted a lot of jumpers who are new to international competition, and several countries are participating at the event for the first time.

There were worries that the competition, which began yesterday and ends on December 9, could be at risk with the weather bureau forecasting "40-60 per cent chance of rain this morning with thunderstorms expected out at sea."

A spokesman at the National Center of Meteorology and Seismology in Abu Dhabi said "light to moderate rains" are expected today over Dubai and the Northern Emirates.

"There are chances of light rains over the UAE. The intensity of the rain will reduce from what it was last night. Because of clouds at some places, we will get some moderate winds," he said.

Wind speed will be 20 to 25kph, while it will be 15 to 20 knots at sea. "We are warning fishermen, especially those with small boats, to avoid going to sea as it will be rough," he said.

The official said the department could not issue any advisory for the World Parachuting Championships as there had been no official communication between them.

About 1,440 daredevils representing 57 countries are taking to Dubai's sky to compete in 13 competitions. They include formation skydiving, accuracy landing, canopy formations, free-fall style, freestyle and canopy piloting.

A light drizzle, cloudy skies, wet roads and water puddles could be soon throughout the emirate on Friday morning as people took refuge under umbrellas.

pkannan@thenational.ae

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