Dubai: Three of the founding fathers of parachuting in Dubai threw open an exhibition of rare photographs to mark the 42nd UAE National Day celebrations on the sidelines of the 4th Dubai International Parachuting Championship (DIPC) at Skydive Dubai.
UAE national Baker Younus was joined by Englishmen Peter Sherman and Anthony Keoghan in cutting the ceremonial ribbon to open the exhibition of rare pictures from their personal collection that have been put up at the venue.
The former parachuting instructors have been specially flown down from the UK by organisers, and the founding fathers were joined by Yousuf Al Hammadi, Mohammad Yousuf and Majid Al Bastaki, Vice President, Technical Director and Head of Media Committee of the DIPC.
“This exhibit takes me down memory lane. It’s like time has passed us by all so quickly,” Younus told Gulf News.
The Emirati diver made his first jump in Yorkshire on August 18, 1972, and on his return to Dubai Younus met up with Anthony Keoghan and decided to establish the Dubai Sport Parachute Club (DSPC).
With this club for civilians in place, Younus and his team of jumpers – Ronald O’Brien, Mike Keoghan, Mick Faulkner, brothers Fred and Jim Keery and Anthony Keoghan himself as their instructor – the DSPC team attempted a world record to jump from a height of 30,000 feet.
“The jump was made but was not recognised as a world record as the FAI was not as organised as they are now,” Keoghan related.
“This exhibition ties up well with the UAE National Day celebrations. We are all part of a journey that we undertook so many years ago and this journey somehow coincides with the path of prosperity chosen by Dubai and the UAE,” he added.
Also on hand was Peter Sherman, a training instructor of the military wing in Dubai at the now-dismantled Central Military Command (CMC) under Shaikh Ahmad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
“This exhibition is close to me and to Dubai. Both have gone through certain incidents and anecdotes and these are recorded as part of history today through these photographs.
“I hope a lot of people come and view this exhibition of pictures as you can also trace the history of this place to a certain extent,” Sherman observed.
Among the most memorable outings for the former instructor is the hosting of the World Military Championships in 1981 at the site of the present Jumeirah Beach Hotel (formerly Chicago Beach Resort) and the annual jumps during the Dubai Rugby Sevens.
“It just seemed like yesterday to me, but so much time has passed us and this exhibition somehow bridges this gap,” Sherman added.