Collin Matiza Sports Editor
THE build-up to the staging of the inaugural paramotor competition is gaining some momentum after the Air Sports Federation of Zimbabwe revealed yesterday that they are expecting more than 30 international competitors, including some from the United States, for this big event that is set to be held at Victoria Falls from January 4-8 next year.
Lawrence Madamombe, the ASFZ president, told The Herald yesterday that a paramotor club from the United States has already expressed an interest in sending some competitors to this event which is also expected to attract other top paramotor gliders from South Africa and a number of European countries, including Germany. “A paramotor club from the United States is willing to come and compete in our inaugural event at the Victoria Falls from January 4-8. I think this is a good start and a big boost for us as we now also have to move fast in having our own paramotor gliders from Zimbabwe who will take part in this international competition.
“We need to train about 10 to 15 racers and two to three instructor pilots who will train or handle our paramotor gliders between now and December before they compete in the international competition in January next year.
“The Paramotor Extreme Racing is sanctioned by the Air Sports Federation of Zimbabwe which is now recognised by the Sports Commission as the motherbody of all aviation sports in Zimbabwe.
“The international event in January 2016 is in line with the Government’s ZimAsset initiative in which we aim to grow our economy through sport tourism,” said Madamombe, a former Air Zimbabwe pilot.
He said they were expecting between 30 to 40 competitors and their supporting staff for the January 4-8 competition at the Victoria Falls and “although the number is lower, they usually have significant tourism revenue”.
“The big appeal of the event is not the number of the competitors but the wide coverage of the sport into millions of homes thus further putting our country, through the iconic Victoria Falls, on the world stage. “Paramotoring or paragliding are sports that are fast getting interest in the world. There are hundreds of thousands pilots in the world who partake in this sport. France alone has more than 25 000 registered pilots. Our objective is to bring these adventure pilots to our shores to compete in precision adventure flying.
“The Victoria Falls is Africa’s adventure capital and it is fitting that she holds such an event year after year,” Madamombe said. He said the inaugural competition will start on January 4 with racing and practice sessions through to January 6 with the finals set for January 8.
“The race shall abide by the local CAAZ regulations and by-laws of the Victoria Falls Town Council. The race will be registered with the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority and the Sports Commission as is the norm; and the Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI) safety codes are to be implemented.
“The pilots shall observe the local rules of not not flying over built up areas, not above 400 feet and shall be in sight of ground or water at all times.”
The launch zone is the Victoria Falls Primary School along the main road to the underside of the bridge and over the falls, keeping paramotor gliders on the left up to the devil Cataract and three sweeps under the bridge and back to the landing zone (at the school). There shall be bulletins that address the race event in such areas of:
No fly zones
Fuel container storage
Madamombe also said there would be some prize money for the competitors with the first paramotor glider home set to receive $10 000 while the second and third-placed competitors will get $7 500 and $5 000 respectively.
All competitors would be presented with miniature prizes for competing at the race. Madamombe said a number of potential sponsors have also been approached to bankroll this international event and they include Red Bull, ESPN, Fly Emirates, Super Sport, ZTV, KFC, local hoteliers, Econet, Telecel and TelOne.
“We are, infact, going to engage a number of key stakeholders as we would like to make this event much bigger than expected and I’m quite convinced that it will have an international appeal if everything is done or handled in a professional manner,” Madamombe said.