Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A message from Bob Skinner at the World Air Games in Turin

Dear John

I'm currently in Turin for the World Air Games (6-14 June), where a few South Africans are participating and officiating. John Gaillard, Quinton Hawthorne and Lazslo are involved in full-size aerobatics judging, I'm a juror for the aeromodelling events, and I know of two parachutists representing South Africa.

Apart from this, the only other South African participation is by Stephane Duponsel, Alan Smith, and Mark Stockton, in the hand-throw glider event. The first two tasks were completed yesterday (5-minute flight as task one, and three 3-minute flights for task two).

It is a real pity that our talented aeromodellers did not make any effort to have selection events for Artistic Aerobatics (outdoor) and Aeromusicals (Indoor). The indoor event (two rounds to date) has been nothing short of spectacular, with nine competitors from eight nations battling it out to impress the judges,m and wow the sizeable crowd. Many participants in the other airsports were in awe of the performances. If only we had the likes of Christopher Harris, who recently participated in the ETOC (Electric Tournament of Champions) in the USA, competing, at least the South African presence would have been reinforced.

We have to start now, to circulate the rules, create interest, and arrange for selection events, to be ready for the next WAG (probably in Russia, but the bidding process is on the go right now), and the 2013 WAG is likely to be in Korea. This is the flagship event of the FAI, where all the airsports have an oppertunity to showcase their events to the world. Aeromodelling is leading the field with new and exciting classes, that are spectator and media friendly. All the in-country costs are paid by the Local Organising Committee, which certainly makes it affordable for athletes to attend.

Today (Wednesday) is the third and fourth tasks of the hand-throw gliders, and all three SA participants have the potential to reach the finals.

Best regards

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