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Urban and Alijaz Valic take the top 2 spots at the 2008 paragliding pre world championships

2008 paragliding pre world championships top 3 women pilots

US Paragliding Team at the 2008 paragliding pre world championships

Gaggle over the Penon in Valle De Bravo

Eagle Team Pilots take Gold in Valle

By Rob Sporrer
February 2, 2008

The United States has been crowned Champion and took home gold at the 2008 Paragliding Pre-Worlds competition in Valle De Bravo, Mexico. Eagle Paragliding Team pilots Josh Cohn, Matt Beechinor, and Eric Reed brought home the gold after a week of solid racing. Eagle Team pilots also finished as the top Americans in the individual overall results with Josh Cohn taking 4th place, and Brad Gunnuscio taking 5th place.

Josh Cohn, Eric Reed, and Matt Beechinor take home the Gold for Team USA
Josh Cohn, Eric Reed, Matt Beechinor

The back to back competitions here brought out some of the best pilots in the world. Here is a list of some of the pilots and their world rank, who were here racing this week from other countries.

Pilot FAI Rank
Urban Valic 1
Jean Marc Caron 4
Aljaz Valic 6
David Ohlidal 8
Andreas Malecki 11
Martin Orlik 23
Greg Blondeau 26

Eagle pilots Eric Reed and Matt Beechinor took 2nd and 3rd place in the Monarca Open. This was a huge victory for both of these pilots. Eric Reed is no stranger to the podium. He has competed all over the world, and been crowned US National Champion before. Matt Beechinor took 4th place at the Monarca open 2 years ago on a DHV 2-3 UP Trango 2, and was also on the podium at this year's Canadian Nationals.

The Organization took the top three finishing pilots for the Monarca Open and selected these pilots as the team members who would represent their country in this year's Pre-Worlds event. Josh, Eric, and Matt flew great all week, and put the USA on top.

There were also great performances by other Americans down here in Valle. These results are testament to the level of American pilots now flying competitions. We had Tom McCune take 3rd place in the Worlds in Manilla Australia in 2007, and now Team USA has taken the gold at the Pre-Worlds in Valle De Bravo.

Countries are designated a certain number of slots for pilots depending on how the nation ranks overall. We can boost our country's ranking by having more US pilots as FAI members competing in competitions all over the world.

There are many more paragliding competitions in Europe and abroad than the amount held each year in the United States. This opportunity gives foreign countries and their pilots the ability to score well in the world ranking, and have more team members participating in the Paragliding Worlds.

The old scoring system allowed for the top three scores for any given country on a task to count as the team result for the day. This was a disadvantage for countries like the United States who are only allowed three males and a female because of their world ranking as a country.

Teams with seven pilots had more chances for a good score with so many pilots. Smaller teams like the United States would need everyone on the team to do well every day to have a chance. Teams with many pilots could afford to have a few pilots fly poorly and still score well since the other team members could carry the torch on any given day.

Under the new rules, the teams are required to pick three pilots who will be used for scoring over the entire event. This takes away the unfair advantage which has been the standard for so many years.

Look for the United States, and the Eagle Paragliding Team to continue to represent during this coming flying season in the United States, and to give the rest of the world a hard time beating them the 2009 Worlds in Valle De Bravo.

2008 Paragliding Pre Worlds Team Results:
2008 Paragliding Pre Worlds Final Team Results - Valle De Bravo, Mexico

2008 Pre-Worlds Coverage
2008 Monarca Open Coverage
News Archive

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