Two of the biggest events in the free-flight competition calendar for 2020 have been cancelled because of the coronavirus.
The Paragliding World Cup Super Final later this month and the FAI Paramotor World Championships in June have both been cancelled.
The Super Final was due to take place in Castelo, Brazil from 24 March to 4 April. The venue had already been moved to Baixo Guando because of fears over the coronavirus, but now the whole event has officially been cancelled.
PWCA Goran Dimiskovski emailed pilots today and said: “Following the WHO pandemic declaration yesterday, the mayor of Baixo Guandu has informed us that he is no longer allowed to hold the event.
“He does however look forward to welcoming us back to Baixo Guandu at a later date. As president of the Paragliding World Cup Association, I would like to thank him for this offer which we look forward to accepting.
“In the meantime, I would like to thank the local organisers, for all the work that they have put into organising the competition. I would also like to thank all the pilots and our partners for their patience and understanding in such difficult circumstances.
“We will keep everyone informed of future developments for the next World Cup events through mailings and on our website.”
Several pilots due to head to Brazil for the Super Final had already said they would not travel because of the coronavirus and had cancelled their participation.
Separately, the Paramotor World Championships have also been cancelled. These were scheduled to take place in June in Linhares, Brazil.
Organisers said they had decided to cancel the event well ahead of time to, “prevent financial losses to competitors and organisers.”
In an email sent to pilots and competitors CIMA, the FAI commission responsible for paramotoring, said: “We understand the virus expansion cycle takes three months to reach its apex. It [has] just started to spread around in our country [Brazil], and it is unpredictable how it will behave from now on.
“Countries are taking action to prevent contamination and limiting travelling. The chances are high that it will impact registrations.”
They expect the FAI World Paramotor Championships to be postponed until next year, and have set tentative dates of 16-26 June 2021.
The FAI Sport Class Hang Gliding World Championships in April in Florida will take place as planned. Organisers have said they will discourage shaking hands and hugging, and will have hand-washing and sanitiser gel stations. Anyone who is sick or can not travel because of a travel ban will receive a full refund, according to the Oz Report.