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Iraq: paragliders in the northern sky

Mount Korek, some 120 km northeast of Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, has become a rallying point for paragliding “fanatics”.

With a newfound calm in the Mosul region, the inhabitants can once again indulge in unconventional outdoor activities. This is the case for paragliding, for example, since the reopening of the Mosul Air Sports Center, to the delight of thrill seekers.

On a video shot, we can see novices practicing for the first time in the Karamlech region, happy to be able to practice a sport different from the more popular ones such as soccer.

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Passion as a driving force

Created in 2008, the Erbil Aeroclub now has more than 40 members, including a growing number of women. And fortunately, because while more traditional sports usually receive state subsidies, paragliding, still relatively new in Iraq, can only live thanks to the passion of its followers. Indeed, the club’s creators financed the thirty paragliders and safety equipment out of their own pockets, which can represent up to 5,000 dollars (4,100 euros) per paraglider.

In any case, judging by their enthusiasm, he has a bright future ahead of him, especially if we believe the words of a young Kurd interviewed by AFP: “”It takes courage, physical strength and a lot of mental preparation. It’s adventure, danger and pleasure at the same time”, sums up the young man. It’s a magical sport. I feel so happy when I take off”.

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Published on 11 December 2020