In the lead up to the 3rd FAI World Cup of Indoor Skydiving, starting 25 October, we asked Gravity’s Event Manager Mariam Fathi how preparations are coming along…
What are Gravity’s goals in running the 3rd FAI World Cup in Indoor Skydiving?
Gravity’s goal since day 1 was Elevating The Sport of Indoor Skydiving. It’s a joint effort really that ourselves and many tunnels around the world have been working towards and it’s clear to see that the standards are rising. Our aim is to raise the bar for future competitions to come and with that in mind we hope to succeed in organizing the biggest indoor skydiving event yet!
Of course, one of our biggest aims is to put Bahrain on the global map and highlight Bahrain’s role in encouraging sports and local participation on an international scale. We hope to raise more awareness about the sport of Indoor Skydiving and get more people involved in it.
How many teams have registered so far, and in what events?
We have 100 teams registered so far in FS 4-Way Open, Female & Junior, VFS 4-Way Open, Dynamic 2-Way Open, Solo Freestyle Open & Junior
We’ve received entries from 25 countries so far! Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Canada, China, Czech Republic, France, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Monaco, Netherlands , Norway, Poland, Qatar, Russia, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and the USA
How many Bahraini teams are entering, and in what events?
We have seven teams representing Bahrain – two FS 4-Way teams, one Dynamic 2-Way team “Team Gravity“, consisting of Ben Roane & Garth Lewis, and four Solo Freestyle competitors, including three entries from the Ministry of Interior Parachuting team and Fatima Al Khalifa, the first Bahraini Female Indoor Skydiving athlete.
Tell me about their coaching
Over the past 18 months, Ben Roane has been coaching Garth & Fatima and developing an advanced training program that would prepare them all for competing in the World Cup. Ben is really happy with the team’s development and is excited to see what these two very motivated flyers will bring to WCIS2018.
How important is it for the Bahraini teams to do well on home soil?
Bahrain is becoming globally renowned for its top athletes and we hope Gravity can add to this already existing world-class level. We are also hoping to develop and encourage local talents and have more Bahraini teams competing at this level in the future.
This is Gravity’s third major competition – the first being the Arab Cup and subsequently Flight Fighters. What did you learn by running those competitions that will be put to use for the World Cup?
We learned a lot! Starting from tiny details like making sure we print the right helmet sticker that doesn’t fly off in the tunnel, to managing all the technical work that goes into running the competition. It was extremely important for us to plan these two competitions precisely for this reason. When we won the bid to host the WCIS2018 one of our disadvantages was having had little competition experience, and so we set out to organize these two meets within one year to get ourselves all prepped up for the World Cup and to prove our capabilities in hosting an event at such scale.
I’m so glad we had the opportunity to organize these two competitions. It has made planning for WCS2018 so much easier and smoother. We know what needs to be done and we know what to expect, now it’s just twice as big!
What are the differences when running an FAI competition rather than your own?
The basics of running the competition don’t vary much, but we are bound with a lot of rules when planning an FAI competition which means there will always be some limitations. Age restrictions for competitors is one of them. We would have loved to have all the awesome kids competing!
How much prize money is on offer for WCIS2018? How will that be divided up between the disciplines?
The total prize cash pot is $200,000 to be divided up between all the disciplines & categories that you can enter in. We have not announced the prize distribution yet, but it will be out soon!
What hotels do you have on offer for the participants and how did you choose them?
We have tied up with a few hotels in different areas in Bahrain and we selected them based on proximity, price and positive experience. We also made sure to select a range of 5-star accommodation, 4-star accommodation and serviced apartments to meet everyone’s needs.
What is important for the judges to achieve?
Fair and consistent judging.
Tell us about the Live Stream you will be running
We are very excited to be working with EpicTech Media for the livestream of WCIS2018. They will be working over the next couple of months to create a fantastic live stream!
The event will be streamed live on WCIS2018.COM from 25-28th of October.
What special preparations have you made for the competition?
Preparations are in full swing! There’s a lot that is going on and we are working collectively on various jobs including, IT, technical preparations, marketing, PR, team registration, equipment, merchandise, obtaining sponsorships and overall setup of the event within Gravity’s building and outside.
We are also preparing to host a small outdoor event to coincide with the World Cup, more details about that will be announced soon.
What’s been your biggest stress and your biggest accomplishment so far?
For a country that has never hosted a skydiving competition, I would say that our biggest accomplishment was winning the bid! I can’t think of one thing that has been the main source of stress. We were faced with challenges in every area but we have overcome them.
Can you feel the momentum at Gravity building up for the meet? Is anything going to be challenging to get finished in time?
Oh yes! It’s only getting started, but it helps to have a dedicated team who have a passion for what they do. I anticipate some stressful times, but I’d like to think of it as a rewarding challenge.
How do the staff react to holding an important competition?
Judging by the last competition, everyone really enjoys it! We love the vibe and atmosphere of competitions. Lots of hype, lots of competitors, and having all those flyers around makes it really fun. Simply put, we enjoy every bit of it. If you stick around with us after the competition you’ll notice us all suffering with post-competition blues!
Are you planning any special surprises?
Let’s just say the Closing Ceremony location will be spectacular!
Do you have any advice for teams and individuals coming to the World Cup?
Given that the vast majority of the teams are flying in from foreign countries, one question that always comes up is what to expect from the culture in the Gulf region – whether ladies are required to be covered up and if alcohol consumption is permitted, or if women and men are allowed to go out together in public!
Bahrain has always been known to have thriving multi-cultural community. This is reflected in its people’s tolerant and liberal attitudes and their welcoming nature. You will find a bit of everything here; the conservative, the liberal, the Westernized & the Arabized but most importantly you can be yourself.
Ladies, you can dress freely and you are not required to cover up unless visiting a mosque. Alcohol is allowed and you’d be surprised the nightlife here in Bahrain is actually great! I recommend everyone to visit Block 338 in Adliya to find plenty of decent restaurants, cafes, bars, lounges & street art! We have beautiful beach spots on the island where you could soak in the sun and go for a swim.
Where can competing teams find out more information?
The main information can all be found in Bulletin 1 & Bulletin 2 which are published on the FAI website & our website WCIS2018.COM. Our website will also be updated with more exciting information such as the list of competing teams and cash prize distribution.
Make sure you also follow our Facebook Events Page: 3rd FAI World Cup of Indoor Skydiving 2018 for instant updates & announcements.
How about those watching at home, where can they find out what’s happening?
The event will be live streamed on our website WCIS2018.COM from 25-28 of October so make sure you tune in! The schedule & timings will be announced closer to the date of the competition. You could also follow the action on Gravity’s social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram & Youtube) using the handle @gravitybah.
What are you most looking forward to about the World Cup?
The thing I love the most about competitions are the people; all the heroes who come together to make the games. I’m looking forward to working with my team and witnessing the outcome of months and long hours of planning. Most of all, I’m looking forward to meeting all the competitors & watching what I am sure will be an epic display of amazing flying skills.
Any final words to add?
Brace yourselves, the competition will be fierce! Best of luck to all the teams and I can’t wait to meet you all at Gravity, Bahrain!