The UAE picked up their first gold medal at the 4th Dubai International Parachuting Championship (DIPC) being held at the Skydive Dubai. Image Credit: Courtesy: Organisers DIPC

Dubai: The Skydive Dubai Nexus team picked up the UAE’s first gold medal at the 4th Dubai International Parachuting Championships (DIPC), winning the four-way Vertical Formation Skydiving (VFS) event yesterday.

The Nexus team, which was formed by a group of Dubai-based expatriates three years ago, scored 211 points in the mandatory eight rounds of jumps to take top honours at Skydive Dubai. The team is made up of Stephanie Strange, Tim McMaster, Derek Cox, Jason Russell and Kenneth Jaworski as alternate, along with cameraman Earl David.

The Nexus team finished well clear of defending world champions France, who claimed silver with a tally of 184 points, while Poland were third with 63 points.

“Winning on home soil is always such a great feeling. We are hugely indebted to everyone who has backed us and believed in us. This support has given us a huge boost in confidence, and we are grateful that people thought we had the ability to be at this point,” Russell told Gulf News.

The UAE team, who have been backed by DIPC Organising Committee chairman Nasser Al Neyadi, will next turn their attention to the United States, where they are scheduled to compete in February. “Definitely, France will be the main challengers for us from now on. The main target for us will be to keep this confidence level up and believe that we can do it again,” Russell said.

Meanwhile, American Curtis Bartholomew took gold in the Canopy Piloting Speed category on the eighth day of competition, while Russia opened their account with top spot in the Freeflying contest.

But the performance of the day was a bronze medal for Cornelia Mihai in the Canopy Piloting Speed competition, who finished behind Curtis and Frenchman David Maleze.

Entry to the competition is free and the action will continue daily at the Skydive Dubai site opposite the Grosvenor House Hotel until December 9.