India's top ranked paragliding pilot, Gurpreet Dhindsa, who resides in Himachal Pradesh, secured the fourth position in the recently held pre-European and & Hungarian Championship at Kruševo, Macedonia. The championship, a traditional competition in Macedonia that was also the pre event for the 2016 European Championship, was held from June 29 to July 4.
Dhindsa, the only Indian pilot in the championship, earned a total of 2,718 points. He led the race in the 54.4 kilometers first task with 982 points but trailed in the second and third tasks of 62 and 67.7 km, respectively, missing the podium by just 17 points. Flying in a Gin Boomerang 10 glider, he earned 927 and 809 points in the second and third tasks.
Zeljko Ovuka from Serbia, Victor Sibirstiev from Israel and Milan Sokacz from Hungary finished at the first, second and third slots in the completion, in which a total of 81 pilots participated.
Earlier, Gurpreet competed in the British Open paragliding competition, also held in Kruševo, finishing overall at the 26thposition and second in the first task. "It was just another race and I enjoyed it," he told this reporter via email. "I enjoyed flying in the two competition mainly finishing 2nd in Task 1 in the British Open and first task win in the pre-European. Both were the result of some interesting route choices separate from lead gaggle," he added.
Born in Punjab and now settled in Bir in Kangra district, Gurpreet, who is on the verge of turning 50, attributed his success to technology being better followed by the maturing Indian paragliding community. Next he is looking to compete in the Paragliding World Cup in Ager, Spain starting August 30. "I'd like to compete in more events for no other reason than that I enjoy it," he said.