Chief minister Virbhadra Singh on Saturday launched the website of the Pre-World Cup Paragliding Championship - www.prepwcindia.com.
He said, “It was a matter of pride that the Paragliding World Cup Association has given an approval to organise Pre-World Cup Paragliding-2013 Championship in India from October 24 to 30 at Bir Billing in Kangra district.”
The chief minister reiterated the state government's efforts to develop sports infrastructure and promoting sports talent in the state.
In order to motivate various sports, cash prizes had been doubled for the outstanding players from the current financial year, he added.
The chief minister added that Himachal Pradesh had tremendous potential for adventure sports such as paragliding, skiing, river rafting, mountaineering and rock climbing.
He said Bir Billing in Dhauladhar range of Kangra district had emerged as top five paragliding sites in the world.
Initially, hang gliding was started in 1984 by Israeli pilots at Bir Billing and thereafter paragliding started in 1992 by French paragliding pilots, he added.
He said the Paragliding Pre-World Cup was organised by the tourism department from 2002 till 2007 at Bir Billing. Later, paragliding category-II and the national championships were started by the state youth services and sports department.
Singh said this year, Pre-World Cup Paragliding Championship would be held at Bir Billing in joint collaboration of the state tourism department and the Billing Paragliding Association (BPA).
He said around 400 world-class paragliders would fly over beautiful Dhauladhar range and about 100 top-class pilots would take part in the Pre-World Cup Paragliding Championship.
Urban development minister and president of the Billing Paragliding Association Sudhir Sharma said efforts would be made to organise this championship as a mega-event.
He said world-class scorer Ulric Jessop would be the scorer-cum-observer of the championship.
Besides, Debu Chawdhary, India's best paragliding pilot and 52nd ranked world paraglider, would be the technical event meet director. Out of 100 world-class competitors, 25 seats have been reserved for Indian pilots.
Sharma said attractive prizes would be given to the winners that include the first cash prize in “Overall Category” of Rs 2.5 lakh, while cash prizes of Rs 2 lakh and Rs 1.5 lakh would be given to second and third winners and in “Indian-Class” category Rs 1.1 lakh, Rs 90,000 and Rs 70,000 would be given to the first, second and the third winners, respectively.
He said in “Women Class” and “Sports Class” categories, cash prizes of Rs 75,000, Rs 65,000 and Rs 55,000 would be given to the first, second and third winners and the “Best Newcomer” prize would be given a cash prize of Rs 40,000 among Indian pilots for best performance to boost the sports talent in the country.
He said for the first time in the country, a standby helicopter would be kept nearby landing site to tackle any emergent situation. Besides, paragliding acrobatic show would also be organised for the first time during the championship.