JAKARTA, July 19 (Xinhua) -- Indonesia's eastern region of West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) province is hosting an international paragliding championship that will run until July 24 with at least 40 athletes from 14 countries and regions.
Besides contending the accurate landing category, international athletes vying in the 2017 Mantar Paragliding XC Open would also compete in cross country, a brand new category introduced in the annual event this year, the organizer said.
"They would compete with at least 50 paragliding athletes coming from several clubs in Indonesia in cross country category," Head of NTB Province Tourism Office M. Faozal said in a statement.
The annual event that began on Tuesday was the third edition, held by NTB provincial government in Mantar village, West Sumbawa regency.
The 7,000 meters square paragliding spot has a height of 558 meters above sea level, has been designated as the province's paragliding activity center since 2015.
With its unique geographical hilly condition, the Mantar spot allows paragliding athletes able to fly and glide up to 3,000 feet at wind speed of up to 15 kilometer per hour with their gliding parachutes.
Indonesian Tourism Minister Arief Yahya hailed the event as it would further promote tourism in the eastern Indonesia province.
"This is a world class event, Mantar can be highly exposed and get famous from this event," the minister said, adding that the sport tourism event would greatly support government in attaining foreign visitor targets in the nation's core industry of tourism set for this year.
Vice President of Asian Continental Paragliding Association (ACPA) Nixon Ray said that Mantar spot has great potentials to become one of international paragliding top spots.
"The Mantar spot has world class features. Indonesia only has two locations of this quality. Besides Mantar, the other was in Palu, Central Sulawesi province," he said.
According to Nixon, international athletes regarded Mantar spot par with Oludeniz in Turkey.