Wally fly­ing high af­ter book­ing place in paraglid­ing su­per-fi­nal

Alpine Observer - - Sport -

By JUSTIN JEN­VEY

BRIGHT’S Wally Ar­cidi­a­cono still can’t be­lieve that he’s headed to paraglid­ing’s big­gest stage next year.

Ar­cidi­a­cono spent all of Au­gust fly­ing against the world’s best pilots with the aim of im­prov­ing his world rank­ing to help him earn na­tional se­lec­tion.

The 32 year-old not only re­turned to the top 100 with a new rank­ing of 93, he also qual­i­fy­ing for what can be de­scribed as the grand fi­nal of paraglid­ing.

A task win on the first day of the Bul­gar­ian World Cup in Sopot booked Ar­cidi­a­cono a place in the Paraglid­ing World Cup Su­per­fi­nal in Brazil in March.

“There’s usu­ally six World Cups in a year and the top 15 from every com­pe­ti­tion as well as any­one who wins a task gets an in­vite to the Su­per­fi­nal,” Ar­cidi­a­cono said.

“It’s the big­gest event there is in paraglid­ing, even the World Cham­pi­onships is a peg down from the Su­per­fi­nal.

“It wasn’t re­ally even on my radar when I left but it’s su­per pleas­ing to know that I’m head­ing to Brazil.”

Ar­cidi­a­cono won the day one chal­lenge when he backed his own judge­ment and headed in a dif­fer­ent di­rec­tion to the other 130 pilots on the fi­nal leg of the task.

He reached goal four min­utes be­fore his nearest com­peti­tor, a ridicu­lous re­sult con­sid­er­ing the lead­ing pilots are only ever sep­a­rated by a few sec­onds.

On top of that achieve­ment Ar­cidi­a­cono also per­formed strongly in two of the other three events he flew in.

He kicked off his time in Europe with a third place in the Pre World Cup event in Bul­garia and af­ter a dis­ap­point­ing show­ing at the Bri­tish Open fin­ished his trip with a top 15 re­sult in the Nordic Open.

“I’m pretty happy with how I went, I wanted to put a yard­stick down and see how I com­pared to the rest of the world and came out pretty happy,” he said.

“On days when I was fly­ing well, I was mix­ing it with the best, so I was very happy with that.”

Ar­cidi­a­cono said con­sec­u­tive weeks of in­tense com­pe­ti­tion fly­ing took its toll at one stage but he was pleased to bounce back in Mace­do­nia.

“It was an in­tense four weeks and I just got a lit­tle bit fa­tigued half­way through,” he said.

“You’re do­ing four or five hours of fly­ing a day for four weeks straight pretty much.

“Every now and then you might get a quiet day or a blown-out day but the weather was par­tic­u­larly con­sis­tent.

“The Bri­tish Open is the one I didn’t do so well in, but I learnt the most from those few days which is al­ways the case.

“When things are go­ing well its easy but when they’re not you’ve got to re­flect and ad­just and I think I found my tempo in the last event and was re­ally happy with my racing by the end.”

With pilots af­forded next to no fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance from gov­ern­ing bod­ies along with lit­tle spon­sor­ship, Ar­cidi­a­cono has set up a Go Fund Me page to en­sure he makes it to Brazil.

He hopes to raise $4000 to cover the costs of air­fares, ac­com­mo­da­tion, food and com­pe­ti­tion fees.

Peo­ple can sup­port Wally by vis­it­ing www.gofundme. com/ send- wally- to- world­cham­pi­onship.

WORLD CLASS: Bright paraglider Wally Ar­cidi­a­cono (right) on the podium in a Pre World Cup event in Bul­garia ear­lier this year.

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