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Indian Paragliding Team wins bronze at  2nd FAI Asian Paragliding Championship at Nishiawa, JapanPG Team

Indian paragliders clinch Asian bronze

Indian Paragliding Team wins bronze at 2nd FAI Asian Paragliding Championship at Nishiawa, Japan

MAIL TODAY - May 11, 2010

THE Indian paragliding team stood third overall in the second Asian Paragliding Championship held in Nishiawa, Japan, on Sunday.

The six member Indian team comprising of Adie Kumar, Debu Choudhury, Gurpreet Dhindsa, Vijay Soni, Sanjay Pendurkar and Roshan Lal Thakur aggregated 4776 points to finish behind South Korea and hosts Japan.

Speaking to M AIL T ODAY , ace pilot Chaudhary, who was the pick of the Indians with 2491 points, said it was a very satisfying show.

“ When you consider the fact that it was our first major international tournament, I think we did ourselves proud. The fact that we defeated the Chinese ( who finished 4th) was a big achievement,” he said.

Veteran Thakur, who has been associated with the sport for the last 12 years, was elated with the team’s performance. “ A thirdplace finish at the Asian Championships exceeded our expectations.

When we left for Nishiawa, we did not leave with any high hopes. All we wanted was to participate and go there and prove that we can compete with the best,” he said.

Chaudhary, who trains at the Billing Paragliding Association ( BPA) in Himachal Pradesh, also felt that with more international exposure, the Indian team could perform much better in the coming years.

On his part, Sudhir Sharma, president of the BPA, said he was extremely pleased with the performance of the team.

“ I can tell you that I am simply elated at the performance of our boys. In the build- up to the championships, they had about three weeks of intensive practice.

Barring this we did not give them any special training,” he said.

It must be mentioned here that the country’s leading paragliders assemble at the BPA base in Choughan Bir in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh to practise. “ The thermal pockets in this area is probably the best in the country and therefore practising here makes one quite tough,” Sharma said.

Chaudhary also said the key to India’s good show was how quickly they adapted to the conditions.

“ Initially it was quite windy and difficult to control.

But after a couple of days, we mastered the conditions and our performances kept getting better,” he said.

He also said the paragliders benefitted a great deal from their experience in Japan. “ I am confident that after our bronze medal effort in Japan, we are going to aim for more success.

We will definitely participate in more international tournaments,” he said.

Sharma also thanked union steel minister Virbhadra Singh and Steel Authority of India Limited ( SAIL) for sponsoring the team. “ I must say here that but for the personal interest taken by Virbhadra Singh, our trip to Japan would simply have not been possible. He takes a lot of interest in the paragliders and that augurs well for us,” he said.

Sharma also said the BPA plans to bid for the next year’s world championship. “ Himachal Pradesh has one of the world’s best paragliding sites and facilities at Bir, Baijnath. In fact, a couple of years ago, Bir hosted the pre- World Cup which was very successful. So after this success, we are going to bid for next year’s championship and are confident about our chances of bagging the hosting rights,” he said.

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