World circuit championship paragliders showing off their skills in Lohan, Ranau, over the weekend. — NST picture by Edmund Samunting
KOTA KINABALU 2011/06/13: Two major events were held in Sabah over the weekend, bringing together paragliders and bikers from all over the world.
The presence of 62 world-class paragliders and 500 big bikers can only do good for the tourism industry in the state.
In Ranau, the Paragliding Accuracy World circuit championship was held in the Lohan Hills with participants from 11 countries.
Along the west coast, 500 big bikers from 10 countries converged with their roaring machines for the 12th Borneo Island International Big Bike Festival.
Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun yesterday said the two events helped in many ways to push the state further in tourism .
"These are people who will go back to their place and pass on by word of mouth, at the very least, to others on what Sabah has to offer as a tourism destination.
"To me, their presence here not only helps generate economic spin-offs but can potentially bring in more visitors into our state in the future," said Masidi of the participants who were here from as early as the middle of last week and those who were still in the state on holiday.
The majority of the paragliders were still in Ranau and were due to fly off from the rockface of the 4,095m Mount Kinabalu peak today.
During the paragliding competition, the fifth leg of a seven-circuit challenge, Kerin Rafael, from Slovenia, emerged as champion in the men's event edging Quiang Sheng Guang of China into second place and also defeating Fereric Matjaz, another Slovenian, who is currently ranked number one in the world.
In the women's category, Indonesians Rosnia Dian, Sirin Milawati and Bonaria Cherry made a clean sweep of the top three spots respectively.
Paragliders are required to jump from an elevation of about 200m and land on or closest to a small one metre square box as a measure of their accuracy.
The challenge was based on six jumps.
Meanwhile, participants in the big bike festival were feted to a grand welcome by Mayor Datuk Abidin Madingkir at the City Hall.
A series of novelty challenges such as the loudest bike, the slowest moving bike, the dirtiest and the best looking bikes were also held, attracting a huge crowd at Lintasan Deasoka over the weekend. They had also toured, on their bikes, several districts in the west coast such as Kota Belud, Tuaran, Kudat and Kota Marudu during their stay.
The participants were from countries such as the Netherlands, Switzerland, the United States, Australia, Hong Kong, Canada and Brunei.