WORLD PARAGLIDING CHAMPIONSHIP 2011 FOR PIEDRAHITA
We have won our bid for the organisation of the World Paragliding Championships in 2011. On Saturday afternoon in the CIVL Plenary meeting in Hall, Austria, we presented our bid against Turkey (Kayseri) and Italy (Feltre).
Our Delegation from Piedrahita included Federico Martín Blanco (Mayor of Piedrahita and Deputy of the Provincial Government of Avila), Maria Carmen Zafra Fernadez (1st Deputy Mayor), and Loli and Pepe. Loli, Federico´s wife speaks fluent German so was involved in convincing the German speaking delegates during the social events. Pepe is the owner of Garrudo the Piedrahita Butcher. He bought along a fantastic acorn fed iberian Ham from Piedrahita, which he carved and served to the delegates during the Airwave party on the friday night . We hoped to give the delegates an taster of Spanish Hospitality. (in the photo from right to left are Calvo, Pepe, Loli, Steve, Maria Carmen, Flip Keotsier -the CIVL President and Federico, the Mayor of Piedrahita)
On Saturday ours was the last of the presentations for the Paragliding Worlds. I opened up briefly explaining our long curriculum of past events (32, including the Europeans in 98 and 4 PWCs). I then introduced the Mayor who spoke on behalf of the President of provincial government of Avila. Then Maria Carmen further endorsed our bid confirming both the commitment of the Provincial Governement and the Town hall.
I then explained a little why Piedrahita is such a fantastic flying area and also a little about task setting. After detailing information about the take off and landing and headquaters I passed over to Calvo to detail our key officials – at this time principally from the highly experienced UK paragliding nationals organising team. Calvo then ran though rescue, the budget and local faciities after which I summed up, closing some seconds before our 15 minutes of permitted time elapsed.
Saturday night we were invited along with the CIVL delegates to a dinner organised by the Austrian Aero Club. This was a very Tyrolean affair with dancers in traditional costumes with thigh and shin slapping. During and after the dinner word got around that we very much had it in the bag, though myself and the Piedrahita delegation were still very nervous………particularly myself, since I have spent months setting up this bid and winning favour with the politicians and securing promises for improvements.
I was present during the voting early on the Sunday morning. The hang glider Worlds bids were first, which had to be re voted on 3 occations to get a majority. Italy won the bid. It was sad for the German and Australian bids, both fantastic tow launch sites. The proposed meet director for Germany was Dietrich Münchmeyer who had done such a good job in some of our Piedrahita events.
Waiting for the counting of the votes for the Paragliding Worlds was a nail biting affair for me. When it was flashed up on the screen it was a huge relief. We had a big mayority. According to Calvo the biggest ever seen.
So, we have the Worlds!. It has been a long ambition of mine to see the World Championships in Piedrahita. I arrived here in 1991, so it will have taken 20 years to get there. Hopefully the commitement now shown by the local and provincial government will finally allow us to get the take off and landing situation fully resolved and access to some other take offs. The Success of this bid should be positive for all pilots of the world who enjoy flying in Piedraita, not just the lucky 150 pilots selected to fly for their nation in two years time.