27.03.2005 General News

Easter holiday makers witness Paragliding festival

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Atibie (E/R) March 28, GNA - Thousands of people were on Saturday entertained with spectacular and breathtaking antics of 19 international pilots who participated in Ghana's first ever Hang and Paragliding festival, at Kwahu Atibie.
Some of the spectators exclaimed in awe or fear as the Para-gliders took off from Atibie, the ridge of "Egyanomma," the highest summit of the Kwahu Mountains.
The pilots, including three females, glided for a several hours amidst birds in their colourful paramotors and eventually landed at the Nkawkaw Stadium.
The Pilots, who are from Isreal, England, Poland, U.S.A, France and Austria expressed excitement about taking part in the event. The game is said to be one of the safest form of aviation and the cost of flying in Ghana has not yet been assessed but it costs about a thousand Euros to fly in Europe, while training pilots costs about three thousand Euros.
The sport, which was developed from skydiving started in the 1980's in France and currently there are about 60,000 paragliders around the globe.
A pilot could glide from three to five hours, however, the highest record is ten hours.
Training of a pilot, which involves theory and practicals takes about 15 days.
Vice President Mahama, with Education and Sports Minister Yaw Osafo Maafo, Minister of Tourism and the Modernisation of the Capital, Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey and other ministers of State and public officials watched the event.
Dasebre Akuamoah Boateng II, Omanhene of Kwahu and some chiefs of Kwahu also witnessed the event.
Some of the spectators, who were seeing the game for the first time, expressed the wish that the game would be in Kwahu permanently and all year round so that people could always have a test flight. The Vice President Mahama, who launched the festival, said the development of Paragliding in Ghana could create more jobs for the Ghanaian youth urged the chiefs and people of Kwahu to invest in the sport and leisure activity to make it successful.
Other Ministers present were, Mr Asamoah Boateng, Deputy Minister of Tourism and Modernization of the Capital City and Mrs Cecilia Dapaah, Deputy Minister of Works and Housing.
Mr Yaw Barimah, Eastern Regional Minister called on the District Assemblies in the Region to collaborate with the Ministry of tourism to enhance tourism potentials in the region.
He said the Eastern Region abounds in a lot of tourism potentials and there was the need to develop the place to be the "honeymoon capital of West Africa" in terms of tourism.
Mr Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, Minister of Tourism and Modernization of the Capital City whose idea it was to have a Hang and Paragliding festival in Ghana thanked the people in the Eastern region for the support they had given to the programme.
Some citizens of Kwahu, who spoke to the GNA about the sport called for the training of more Ghanaians to be professionals in the game so that the game could be sustained in Ghana.
Ms Doreen Danquah, the first Ghanaian lady to participate in the game, made a lot of people eager to also register to take part in the sport.
Among Ghanaians who took a flight was Mr Ferdinand Ayim, Special Assistant to the Minister of Tourism and Modernization of the Capital City.
Ms Louise Burnham, a pilot from England in an interview with the GNA about the sport being introduced in Ghana, also said, "it would be a good thing to sustain the Para gliding festival in Ghana" She said, " I had mixed feelings when I was coming to Ghana to participate in the game but I am impressed about the peoples' reaction to the game"
She said the potential for Ghana as a paragliding destination was great since it offered beautiful rainforests and scenery Ms Burnham however, said a wider space is needed for the game as the trees that surround the site for Paragliding gave some hindrance when flying.
Mr Jacques Derolland, a pilot from France who could not fly due to a faulty paramotor reiterated the need for the more trees to be caught to give future paragliders more space when flying. The Ministry of Tourism and Modernization of the Capital City this year introduced the Hang and paragliding festival into the aura of Easter celebration of Kwahus as a tourism promotion activity. 28 March. 05

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