Wally flying high after booking place in paragliding super-final
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.