Vietnamese paragliders to fly high at World Cup

October 01, 2022 - 08:05
They are among the 120 best pilots in the world, gathering in Gochang, a county in North Jeolla Province.


Vietnamese pilots arrive in South Korea yesterday. They will compete at the Paragliding World Cup Gochang from October 1 to 8. Photo courtesy of Đinh Thế Anh

HÀ NỘI — Six pilots will raise the Vietnamese national flag high when participating in the Paragliding World Cup in South Korea from October 1 to 8.

They are among the 120 best pilots in the world, gathering in Gochang, a county in North Jeolla Province.

These six participants, who arrived in South Korea yesterday safe and sound, are well-known.

Trần Hoàng Kim, Vũ Tuấn Dũng and Lê Hoàng Bách qualified in August thanks to their outstanding performance in recent years.

They are joined by Đỗ Hữu Lê, Đinh Thế Anh and Nguyễn Thị Hải Yến, who made their names with their results from the Putaleng XC Open 2020.

The increasing number of Vietnamese competitors at the World Cup is a remarkable improvement for Việt Nam. As a new sport, there is no federation yet, but all activities are managed and developed by six clubs.

Pilots must provide everything from buying equipment, training and travel expenses.

While this will be Bách's second World Cup after his first appearance in 2018, the rest are fresh faces in the global competition.

Bách was one of the first paragliders in Việt Nam. With nearly two decades of flying since 2005, he has performed remarkably.

He was in second place in two Vietnamese pilots' favourite destinations with a 209.95km fly in Khao Sadao, Thailand and a 126.49km fly in Tam Đường District, Lai Châu Province, Việt Nam.

He is currently No 5 in Việt Nam's ranking.

Dũng has been flying since 2013. He is the pioneering pilot joining paragliding events abroad. He is the reigning champion of the Putaleng XC Open 2020 after placing third at Thailand's ASEAN Friendship Open 2019. He is No 2 in Việt Nam.

Kim, 32, is the team's youngest member, began flying from late 2016. Despite a shorter time with the sport compared to his seniors, Kim showed off his strong paragliding passion and has not denied any competition if he could join, from Việt Nam to Asia and even the US.

He won the title of the CIS 2019, ASEAN Friendship Open 2019 and second place at the Putaleng XC Open 2020.

He is the No 1 in Việt Nam and ASEAN.

Lê has made his name in every destination in Việt Nam with hundreds of hours flying annually. In just two years, Lê has grabbed high results in local competitions and a slot at the World Cup.

Anh has flown individually and attached many tourists with him to travel from the sky, admiring the beauty of the Sơn Trà peninsula in Đà Nẵng.

He has also flown everywhere in Việt Nam and discovered Asia and Europe. He is the defending champion of the Tà Đùng and Nha Trang Paragliding tournaments organised earlier this year.

Nguyễn Thị Hải Yến is excited and can't wait to compete in the World Cup for the first time. Photo courtesy of Hải Yến

Yến is the only female team member, but her record is a dream of every pilot.

The 30-year-old made a 241km flight in Deniliquin, Australia, in 2019, and made it the longest flight by Vietnamese pilots for three years, before Kim broke it with his 264km flight in Utah, the US, last month.

Yến finished in top place in the women's category at the Putaleng XC Open 2020 and qualified for the World Cup.

"I am a woman, but I believe that people can do it, and so do I," Yến told Việt Nam News.

"I am happy and proud to present Việt Nam at this World Cup, the largest event I have ever competed in.

"In my first time, I do not set up a high target but tried to show my best and learn more for my improvement because rivals at this World Cup are really good. Most of them have taken part and grabbed high results in many international competitions," Yến said.

The Paragliding World Cup is a cross-country flying competition for paraglider pilots, organised by the Paragliding World Cup Association, based in Marlens, France.

The Paragliding World Cup Tour visits 5-6 locations worldwide each year. At each event, several tasks are flown to establish the overall classification.

Gochang has held many competitions over the years, including the pre-World Cup and Asian tour events. VNS