The 7th FAI European Paragliding Accuracy Championships have come to an end after 10 valid rounds. 91 pilots from 18 nations competed for the title. The event was held in Sibiu, Romania from September 3 till 10, 2022.
Despite the early morning rain showers at breakfast, the clouds cleared as competitors drove out to the event flying site. Under the clear blue skies, round 9 was quickly completed and round 10 started. The wind was slightly stronger and provided competitors with a pretty consistent wind line for their final approaches. The top 3 individual places had all been changing in rounds 8, 9 and 10 with different leaders and ties at various times. With pressure building for those top places and the potential for round 10 to be the final round, the cheers, whoops and applause from the spectators grew as pilots came into land. Some saw their hopes dashed whilst others were brought back into contention.
By lunchtime, clouds started forming covering the sky but providing smoother flying conditions for those in the middle of the round. However, after lunch these cleared and, with a change of launch point as a result of the change in wind direction, the rest of the pilots continued with Round 10. There was still all to play for at the top of the leader board and although George Cotet appeared to be safe in first place, the 2nd and 3rd positions depended on the result from Pilot 94 Dragan (photo below). The suspense continued right to the end. The Meet Director decided to end the competition at the end of round ten as there was insufficient time to complete another round. That decision he made was very fortuitous for all. Literally, within just a few minutes of the pilots and staff packing away their equipment for the return back to the accommodation, the winds grew and the drive back to was made through thunder, lightning and flash floods. A good call by the Meet Director, Valentin Popa.
The closing ceremony was held in a large hall at the hotel with some of the awards presented by the local Minister of Sport. The warmth and congratulatory applause to the winners and staff alike were outstanding, showing a mutual admiration and appreciation for all involved and recognition of the hard work needed to run a successful event.
This competition has provided it all – smooth calm conditions, light winds, stronger winds, variable winds, high thermic activity and has really tested pilot skills. Thanks go to the organisers, judges, marshals, and safety committee for organising such a fantastic competition.
Congratulations to the new European Champions!
- Czech Republic
Due to insufficient representation, there was no Junior title but young participants pilots also received memory trophies. They are the future of our sport!
All results: https://civlcomps.org/event/europga2022/results
Photos Andy Cowley, text Myrianthe Ewington.