Manila, Philippines – Paragliding Philippines Federation, the Municipality of Maasim and the Provincial Sarangani Office, with the Department of Tourism, The City of General Santos and Air Sports Adventure Philippines(ASAP) embark on a historical collaboration to present one of the most spectacular sporting events that the country has ever seen: the Paragliding Accuracy World Cup.
Set for March 27-29, 2015, Sarangani Province shall land in air adventure sports history, to be the country’s first venue of the Paragliding Accuracy World Cup (PGAWC). Gravity•Zero: PGAWC 2015 Series, is the Philippines’ bid to take on the world of Paragliding in accuracy discipline, as it opens the year’s PGAWC Tour.
According to technical lead and ASAP President Buko Raymundo, the PGAWC ideally gathers 26 countries during the 6-leg series with about 90 potential competitors vying for the gold. “We initially targeted 60 pilots for the competition. At the moment, the number of registered pilots is at 65 and still building up so it is a very good start for our first world cup.”
PGAWC will have one of its legs in the Philippines and specifically in Sarangani Province. Safi Ranch in Maasim, Sarangani boasts to have one of the best scenic paragliding spots in the world.
Expected to come are competitors from atleast 15 countries with an expected 60 paragliders from all over the world. The date is set on March 27-29, 2015 and the PGAWC is one of the events enrolled in the Visit Philippines 2015 campaign of the Department of Tourism.
Known for its majestic view of the Sarangani Bay and 300 days flyable weather conditions, the Safi Paragliding Site in Maasim, is bound to cement the reputation of the 12th Paradise as home to international paragliding pilots. “We have returning pilots from last year’s International Paragliding Accuracy Championship, and for us, that is a sure indication that Sarangani Province is a perfect venue for the sport.“
Japanese veteran Yoshiki Oka, the world’s oldest competing pilot and ranked 2nd in August is coming back for the PGAWC challenge. Elise Manueke of Indonesia, currently 8th in the world ranking, and who earned 3rd place in IPAC will again take on the skies of the country’s 12th Paradise. David Graupera of Spain, ranked 5th at the last event in Sarangani Province is also getting ready to compete.
“The most interesting thing about accuracy paragliding discipline is that it looks easy, but it is highly technical. The center of the target is about as big as a 5peso coin and because the sport is highly dependent on wind conditions, terrain, skill and mental attitude of the pilot, the results are very unpredictable.”
Sanctioned by the Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI), pilots at Gravity•Zero will be judged by the most exacting technical delegates of the PGAWC Team, from Europe and Asia. “In paragliding accuracy discipline, there are no gray areas. Everyone will see that there can be no other way that a pilot will get the perfect score but to fly perfectly and land perfectly on the target. It is really all about the flight,” added Raymundo.
Paragliding Philippines Federation (PGP) Secretary General, Dennis Baltazar added that the pilots of the Philippines have been preparing themselves, honing their skills in the sport for 3 months. “Our pilot-athletes have had certification and progression trainings with ASAP and Sarangani Paraglide as early as November. Different teams have had their sessions at the Safi Fly-site as well to get a feel of the conditions of Sarangani leading to Day Zero. The preparations have been challenging and at the same time really exciting. We’re crossing our fingers that our efforts will all pay off in the end.”
Gravity•Zero is sponsored by Safi Agro, SM, Globe Pioneer Insurance, Tribu and Headware. The event is made possible with official media partners Philippine Bloggers Network (PBNet), Business World, official tour partners WGATA, and official hotel partners Sydney Hotel, 3G Garden Hotel and Sarangani Highlands.