After tourists and mountaineers, paragliders have shown interest in Pakistan. Belgian Paraglider Thomas de Dorlodot and Spanish Horacio Llorens are in Pakistan to interact with the local authorities and have a look at the local paragliding sites. The Belgian Embassy is hosting them.
Thomas visited Pakistan in 2013, where he had flown hundreds of km and walked in the snow. He said, “It feels like every time I come to Pakistan, it has been to prepare for this trip.” He has been paragliding for the last 20 years since the age of 14. He also started ‘SEARCH Projects’ whose purpose is to document new adventures. He has paraglided across the world’s mountains. He thinks Pakistan is a great place for paragliding.
He said, “I’ve been to Pakistan six times, and every time, we learn something new. I feel everything is in place now for an epic expedition. This will be our biggest expedition ever in Pakistan for sure.” He also added, “We fell in love with the country when we first visited. It’s one of the most welcoming countries and is one of the best for paragliding.”
Horacio Llorens is a five-time world paragliding champion, where he has glided from the Mayan ruins in Guatemala to the Aurora Borealis. He is also a Guinness World record holder for hitting 6G force in 568 rotations (called Infinity Tumbling) on his way down to the Mayan ruins. He has been visiting Pakistan since 2011. This is the third time, he is visiting Pakistan.
He loved Hunza, the Himalayas and said, “I love this place. But this time, we are much more prepared, mentally, and physically. Hopefully, if the weather is good, we are here to do something big.”
He appreciated the hospitality of the people of the mountains, and how they treated people owing to the culture and traditions. This will help in getting more opportunities for the paragliders and more athletes will come and stay.
Belgian Ambassador to Pakistan Philippe Bronchain stated that Pakistan has a lot of opportunities for athletes. Athletes from Belgium and other countries will be interested to come to Pakistan. He said, “It’s important to have a better understanding and knowledge of Pakistan. Thanks to these kinds of events, it draws attention to the local community and region.” Such cultural and sports exchanges help in creating more opportunities for the international athletes, and also help to “understand the local community, how they live and function.”
He said, “It’s also soft diplomacy, which is important for all countries. It’s important for Belgium and Pakistan. It shows what you have, your culture, and what you like. It helps us understand each other.”