Shimla, Aug 17 (IANS) More than 100 pilots from across the globe are expected to take part in the seven-day Pre-World Cup Paragliding Championship to held in October in Himachal Pradesh, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh said here Saturday.
The event, jointly organized by the state tourism department and the Billing Paragliding Association, would be held from Oct 24 to 30 in Bir-Billing area in Kangra district, he said at the launch of the event's official website, www.prepwcindia.com.
Singh said the government was laying emphasis to develop sports infrastructure and talents in the state.
To motivate the various sport activities, cash prizes have been doubled for the players from this fiscal, he said.
The hill state has tremendous potential for adventure sports such as paragliding, skiing, river rafting, mountaineering and rock climbing.
Sheltered by mountains and surrounded by rolling tea gardens, Bir-Billing, situated at a height of 2,290 metres and some 300 km from here, is considered to be one of the finest aero-sports sites in the world.
Urban Development Minister Sudhir Sharma, who is president of the Billing Paragliding Association, international scorer Ulric Jessop would be the official scorer-cum-observer of pre-world cup event.
Debu Chawdhary, India's best paragliding pilot and world's 52nd ranked paraglider, would be the technical event meet director.
He said out of 100 competitors, 25 seats had been reserved for Indian pilots.
Event organizers said initially hand-gliding was started in 1984 by Israeli pilots at Bir-Billing. Thereafter, paragliding was started in 1992 by French pilots.
The government hosted the Paragliding Pre-World Cup from 2002 to 2007 at Bir-Billing. Then Paragliding Category-II and national championships were started by the state youth services and sports department.