Preparations for the Paragliding World Cup-2015 scheduled to begin at Bir-Billing valley here on October 24 is in full swing.
As many as 131 pilots from 23 countries, including World Number 3 paraglider Julian Wirtz from France, have registered for the competition. Apart from Wirtz, many top-ranking pilots are participating in the week-long mega sporting event that is the first-ever paragliding world cup to be held in India.
Himachal Pradesh urban development minister and president of the Billing Paragliding Association (BPA), the main organiser, Sudhir Sharma said over 400 pilots from across the globe had applied for the competition. "However, the Paragliding World Cup Association (PWCA), the parenting organisation, selected 131 pilots on the basis of their world ranking," Sharma added.
Of the 131 competitors, Sharma said, 66 had confirmed their registration while 65 registrations were pending for want of fee. Of the 66 confirmed registrations, five were of women, he added.
Speaking about the facilities being set up for the mega event, Sharma said work on the take-off site at Billing and landing site at Bir was nearing completion.
During the competition, Sharma said, the rescue, safety and medical services would be in place as per the PWCA norms. "We would have a helicopter, five ambulances with full medical team on both take off and landing sites," he added.
Besides, trauma vans with doctors and paramedical staff and 25-member mountaineering rescue team with 50 marshals would be on standby for emergency evacuation, the minister said.
Surrounded by the Dhauladhar range and sprawling tea gardens, the Bir-Billing valley is among the top 10 aero-sports sites in the world.
The PWCA cleared Bir-Billing as one of the venues of the World Cup Tour 2015 after the valley successfully hosted the 2013 Pre-Paragliding World Cup. Paragliding World Cup tours six countries every year.