JKSMA organising paragliding training camp in Sep

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SRINAGAR: With a view to infuse a spirit of aero sports among local youth and to create trained manpower for tourism industry, the J&K Ski and Mountaineering Association (JKSMA) is organising elementary paragliding training camp in third week of September in valley.
The JKSMA has urged the tourism department and state sports council to sponsor this prestigious programme.
“JKSMA is inviting the applications from adventure loving enthusiasts who have enough adventure background. I n case the event is not sponsored by any organisation, the participants shall have to pay Rs 7,000 as training fee,” the Association said in a statement adding that for further details those interested should contact the organisers atatokashmir@gmail.com immediately.
The boys will be selected on first come first serve basis, it added. The camp is being organised in association with Adventure Tour Operators Association of Kashmir and Dive and Glide Adventures of Bilaspur Himachal Pradesh under the overall supervision of Vishal Jasal – a highly trained and experienced pilot who has participated in several national and international paragliding championships, an official statement issued here said.
“The talented adventure loving youth would be selected whose services could later be utilised to work as professional paragliding pilots for Commercial Adventure Tour Operators,” the JKSMA said. “The other aim of the project would be to raise a state team that could take part in national paragliding championship in near future.”
Besides, the experts will explore possibility of introducing this scintillating sport at Dodhpathri, Tossa Maidan and some other places in the valley, it said.
President JKSMA Muhammad Yusuf informed that paragliding was first introduced in the subcontinent by JKSMA way back in mid 1980s when they invited three pilots from Pontrisena Flugschule, Switzerland, to train some enthusiasts including Mehraj Din, Rauf Tramboo, Firdous Khan and Muhammad Yusuf.
The pilots first time flew from Zabarwan and landed in Chechmashahi garden. They also explored Aru, Kongwatan, and Thajewas etc., he said adding that due to financial constraints and other reasons they could not continue this activity but in 2000 they constituted an exclusive Aero Sports Association in the state. The State Sports Council sponsored several aqua parasailing and snow paragliding programmes.
Yusuf said the neighbouring state Himachal Pradesh promoted the paragliding to its highest level and today they are able to hold international paragliding championships there. “Today our adventure tour operators are hiring the services of pilots from Himachal Pradesh,” he said.
President ATOAK Rauf Tramboo believes that the proposed camp could be very useful for adventure tourism sector and said “we have tremendous potential to operate this segment of tourism in all seasons”.