PGA Worlds 2021 - record number of participating nations!
The 11th FAI World Paragliding Accuracy Championship has been launched in the city of Prilep, North Macedonia. It is organized by Paragliding clubs Delta and Extrema with the support of the Agency of Youth and Sport of North Macedonia and the Hang Gliding and Paragliding Commission of FAI. Whilst the preliminary opening event was a little limited than planned due to the effects of the inclement weather and the consequent limitations of Covid local restrictions, the pilots and teams appeared to enjoy the occasion.
The event was scheduled to take place from the 6th until the 16th of October 2021. The organising team, led by Goran Dimiskovski and Martin Jovanoski, together with their Safety Director, Ivan Lukanov, will be ensuring a safe and fair event.
129 pilots from 32 nations will be competing for the title. The maximum number of pilots constituting a national team is 7 in total with 5 of one gender, but only 3 scores from every round count for the team score.
This Paragliding Accuracy World Championship is the most internationally presented to date: 32 nations against 28 that participated in the worlds of 2019 and 2017. In the previous years, the number of participating nations was much less. Twenty years ago the first-ever PGA Worlds 2000 started in Middle Wallop in the United Kingdom with just 25 pilots and 4 nations. The number of competing nations has constantly grown reaching its peak this 2021. Bearing in mind the effects of Covid around the world, it is amazing that the current championship participation not only reached pre-pandemic level but also exceeded it in terms of international representation.
It is interesting to note that the participants of that first-ever PGA Worlds have come to compete in this championship - Matjaž Ferarič and Matjaz Sluga from Slovenia, and Andy Shaw, from UK - the live legends of the sport. Another interesting fact is that two members of the 2000 PGA Worlds organizing team are currently working in this very championship too. Andy Cowley, who was the Chief Judge in 2000 is now an FAI Jury president and Riikka Vilkuna, Finland, continues to be an FAI steward.
The weather forecast is proving to be very challenging for the first few days, meaning that the competitors have not yet been able to fly, however, the organisers will do their very best possible to achieve as many flying rounds as possible.
Good luck to all the competitors! Let the incredible flying skills within this air sport define the true winners!
We will keep you updated on the course of the event. Please stay tuned.