The COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak has meant the Paragliding World Cup Association have had to change the venue of the 2019 Superfinal from Castelo to Baixo Guandu, Brazil.
The competition is scheduled for 24 March – 4 April, and the association warn there is still a risk that further last-minute changes, including cancellation, might be necessary, depending on how the virus outbreak evolves over the next couple of weeks.
An email sent to PWC Association members on 6 March 2020 read:
“The Paragliding World Cup Committee is following closely all the events related to the worldwide outbreak of the coronavirus and the possible implications for the forthcoming 11th Paragliding World Cup Superfinal.
“We are just 19 days before the start of the event and, as you can imagine, we are facing very difficult decisions. For the moment we have an intention to keep the schedule of the event as planned. Please note that this decision might be changed following the possible changing of the global, or local circumstances.
“Due to the local circumstances, we are forced to change the venue of the 11th Paragliding World Cup Superfinal from Castelo to Baixo Guandu. Local organisers arranged full return of the pre-payments to the hotels that some pilots might have done. If you are one of them please, contact the local organisers directly.
“Also, local organisers promised full support with the new accommodation arrangements.
“Regarding the final decision to continue or cancel the 11th Paragliding World Cup Superfinal, among many concerns, we believe that two factors will be prevailing in the decision making.
“The first and the most important factor will be the development of the situation in the period before the beginning of the 11thParagliding World Cup Superfinal.
“Many organisations in the event organising domain are taking reference from the actions and requirements imposed by the local authorities at the destination where the event has to take place. In our particular case, it is impossible to predict what kind of measures might be imposed by the local authorities in Brazil in the following period. It has been already announced that multiple medical checks will be performed at least twice per day during the entire period of the event.
“We find that measure acceptable and we hope that it will increase global awareness as well as safety of the participants and the local population. However, if additional requests are raised by the local authorities that may disturb the fluidity of the competition’s daily routines, the decision to carry on will be revised and a new course of action might be set.
“The second very important parameter of the decision making is the possibility that with the running of the Superfinal as planned, we may assist with the virus migration.
“As a worldwide organisation, PWCA, we have an obligation to actively contribute to the global efforts to contain the virus alongside the recommendations by the WHO and other governing bodies.
“With migrating a significant number of people, most of them coming from the epidemic level 2 and, some of them, from level 3 countries, we are acting in the opposite direction. It will be a moral and human dilemma, up to the last moment, whether we should proceed with the event as originally planned.
“In whatever scenario, if the Committee assess that the Superfinal cannot be safe, fair and satisfactory, we will be forced to cancel the event.
“We understand that some of you may not want to travel at this time. Some of you may be advised by your local federations or government not to travel. Our understanding is that whether to attend this Superfinal or any other event, it will always be an individual decision.
“We advise pilots from various countries to monitor any travel restrictions that may be placed on them over the coming weeks and to act accordingly.
“As an additional measure, Committee agreed on entry fee refunds to any pilots who feel they are a risk to spread the virus, or at risk to be infected with the virus.
“If you are considering canceling your participation, for the fairness reasons towards the pilots on the waiting list that might want to join the event, please contact the PWCA office immediately.
“Of course, conditions may change over the coming weeks and the decision may be taken out of our hands.
“We will be monitoring the situation and we will take the necessary actions and communicate any changes to you promptly.”