19 Aug 2019

Swoop Freestyle International Open In Saudi Arabia

On July 17th and 18th 2019, Air Sports Group (ASG) in collaboration with the General Sports Authority of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia hosted the inaugural Swoop Freestyle International Open in downtown Jeddah.

The first ever professional skydiving event in the Kingdom gathered 18 competitors and 13 display pilots from 15 countries worldwide. All eyes were on the Jeddah skies, as the competitors descended in their signature aggressive parachutes, showcasing once again the high level of skill and technical knowledge required to master the new high-impact sport.

Months of training and great expectations all across the board led to the final test of their skills, in a brand new setting. The world’s best air sports athletes performed new tricks and next level combinations, as they battled it out in a neck and neck race for their shot at the podium.

Jeannie Bartholomew, (USA) bronze medalist, said: “Making the podium this year was one of my biggest goals, as Swoop Freestyle is my favorite event! It was an honor to compete and make the podium in a male dominated discipline and in such a beautiful country. I am excited to keep pushing the sport and getting more women involved and competing in Canopy Piloting".

Ultimately, it was Pablo Hernandez (Spain) who took the spotlight by delivering the most adrenaline-fuelled performance. He was joined on the podium by second place Franco Darman (Argentina) and Jeannie Bartholomew (USA) who finished third.

The event promotes men and women competing alongside each other and was the culmination of the inaugural Jeddah Season (June 8th - July 18th) and the crown jewel for the season´s 150+ events. The initiative is in line with the goals of Vision 2030, which aims to unlock opportunities for cultural exchange, as well as economic and tourism diversification in the Kingdom.

George Stribling Blythe, CEO ASG said: “We have a vision for unlocking the full potential of action air sports, for promoting events that are not bound to gender or nationality, and for ultimately challenging how sport and entertainment are perceived in today’s society. The compelling and meaningful displays allow the audience to tap into never-before-seen or -heard stories, and to discover unique personalities, backgrounds and experiences. ASG appeals to a new generation of consumers, media, brands and hosting cities and is proud and delighted to be sharing its vision with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. For us, the sky is no longer the limit.”

Photo credit: Air Sports Group