France and the USA were always meant to be the firm favourites along with other nations such as Russia and Belarus when the FAI World Parachuting Championships Mondial 2012 Dubai kicked off at the SkyDive facility on The Palm Jumeirah at the end of November. But realistically, who would have expected comparatively new parachuting nations like China and Slovenia to join in the party in the Dubai Mondial? And that is exactly what happened as China managed to upset the form chart over the 12 days of the competition picking up valuable medals - and in the bargain denying the most conformed nations from dominating.
It was the seniors who led from the front for China taking home the Free Fall and Team competitions while the juniors were not too far behind as they showed that they will be a force to reckon with following medals in the Accuracy competitions.
Graeme Windsor, President of the International Parachuting Committee (IPC) said, “The arrival of new countries shows that the sport is evolving very fast.”
“So far, we have had the regular favourites such as Russia, USA and France, but now there are countries like China and Slovenia who are willing to work hard and be on par to compete against the bigger nations," he added.
Leading the Slovenian assault on medals was the well-loved Domen Vodisek as he picked up the individual gold medal in the senior men’s Accuracy competition and that was just enough to hand the same colour medal to the five-member Slovenian squad in the team contest.
Other than these performances that may have upset plans of former champions France and the USA, it was business as usual. The French squad went on to win a competition-high eight gold medals, including a couple of silver and bronze medals each to register their best showing at a Mondial.
The USA managed well gamely keeping pace with the French as they won six gold medals.
And then there was Russia looking stronger than usual as the women picked up the individual and team honours with the petite Svetlana Kalina being the toast for her country by becoming the only jumper to successfully defend her overall individual title for the third time in as many attempts.
With the Dubai competition coming to an end, Championships Director Yousuf Al Hammadi was all praise for the support, sponsorship and personal interest taken by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Sports Council. “Everyone has lavished praise on our event. But I feel all the credit should go to Sheikh Hamdan,” the official said.
The Mondial in Dubai attracted a huge field of more than 1,400 participants who competed in the 15 various events and another two demonstration categories during the course of the competition.
“This event has firmly put Dubai on the world map. Everyone in the world of parachuting is speaking about Dubai and its ability to stage similar competitions. We will not stop here for sure,” Al Hammadi noted.