The 12th Asiania Parachute Championships and the 1st Fujairah International Open were launched today (Friday 31 October 2008) with great festivity.
Grandstands were erected along the Fujairah Corniche with the Arabian Sea being a fitting backdrop to the colorful event.
HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, the Fujairah Crown Prince, graced the event which was attended by several thousand people from Fujairah, the Emirates and many countries of the world. Over 400 competitors from 35 countries were welcomed by representatives of the Asiania and Fujairah Parachute Clubs.
The Fujairah Parachute team members descended holding flags of the UAE, the flags of participating countries and flags bearing the pictures of the rulers of the UAE.
Other parachutists hung from chutes in the colours of the sponsors of the competitions. While they jumped and jockeyed to hit the landing target, a band played.
A plane flew over the crowd for about ten minutes with noise and smoke trails adding to the atmosphere. At times it dropped so low it nearly shaved the heads of the spectators.
The final act was the fly around by several engine-powered parachutes that dropped paper in festive fashion.
View Some Pictures
An assortment of photographs from the opening ceremony can be seen at this online photo gallery.
Dr Geoff Pound
Image: One of the colourful parachutes.